- Holi is undoubtedly the most vibrant festival that literally uses colors for the occasion, while other festivals are respectively recognized as colorful ones.
- But how many of us understood the significance of Holi before aiming to play with colors. Does it have something to impact with our actual lives?
- To this, let’s us not be so apparent, but take a closer look and a little thought to celebrate the festival with cherishing reasons.
What is Holi to do with mythology?
- Holi is celebrated every year on Poornima (full moon day) in the Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar. And like every other Indian Hindu festival, Holi too has a mythological significance behind it.
- Foremost is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap that explains the real reason how it led to celebrating Holi for the first time in the 4th Century CE. However, it is to be noted that that the story attached to the festival originally dates back as old as 24 Mahayugs according to the Bhagavata Purana.
- As per the legend, there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyapwho was granted boons of immortality. Practically, he meditated for isolated years to make Shiva meltdown with feelings to appear and grant him of becoming an unrivalled combat prowess in the entire universe who is substantially going to carry the powers of all Gods including Indra, Yama, Kubera, Surya, Agni, Vayu, Soma, and Varuna.
- His powers also count that he is so immortal that he wont even be killed by any human or animal, neither by male or a female, nor by any man-made weapons, nor by day and night, or by any spells or thoughts. But what he couldn’t ask for was any specific element or matter that could end his life.
- This prowess king had many children by different wives, but his youngest and favorite child was Prahlad born to a beautiful human lady unlike his other wives who were demons in human guise.
- To his great surprise, Prahlad began to worship, Lord Vishnu instead of him. This led to an uttermost rage in the demon king who tried many ways to kill his little being. However, after repeated attempts of filicide by Hiranyakashyap unto Prahlad, what he got in return was only disappointments.
- To get rid of his son, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the ‘Holikadahan’ comes mainly from this legend.
- Hiranyakshyap was finally killed by Lord Narsimha (the form of an image that had the lower part of the body as a human and the upper part of the body that of the lion), a prominent avatar of Lord Vishnu, who ascended to earth to demonstrate the quality of Divine rage and redemption by killing the demon king by tearing off his (King) body part using his (Lord) long sharp nails (The non-man-made weapon).
- The part of the body as a lion effected nails to those of the lion claws to rip off the prowess demon’s body easily. This illusion of the lion and human body makes us understand how such type of figure was not mentioned by the king while asking for the boons. Since such kind of creature doesn’t exist in real life, hence the king’s boons got limited beyond the lord’s thinking ability.
- There’s another story behind Holi that’s related to Lord Krishna and Radha. When Krishna was a child, he didn’t like that his complexion was dark while Radha was fair-skinned. So he asked his mother about it and Yashoda playfully asked him to colour Radha’s face with the colour of his choice. This prank of Krishna later, became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities with the primary slogan “Bura Na Maano Holi Hai!” (Don’t get offended, its just the Holi!)
- Mythology also states that Holi is the celebration of death of Ogress Pootana who tried to kill infant, Krishna by feeding poisonous milk to it. Since, Ogress Dhundhialso used to trouble children in the kingdom of Raghu and was ultimately chased away by the pranks of the children on the day of Holi. Showing their belief in the legend, children till date play pranks and hurl abuses at the time of HolikaDahan.
How does Holi impact culture and society?
- The cultural significance of Holi can be gauged from the fact that its origin derives reference from various mythological tales.
- This has led to a deep faith and respect towards the celebration of the festival, as Indians strongly believe in mythology.
- The moral behind all these stories is victory of good over evil, which is a lesson for human race.
- This is extremely important in the modern-day society when so many people resort to evil practices for small gains and torture one who is honest.
- Holi helps the people to believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and also to fight away the evil.
- Besides, Holi is celebrated at a time of the year when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest. It is the festival of welcoming spring, the season of new harvests and plantation. This gives a people a good reason to rejoice, make merry and submerge themselves in the spirit of Holi.
Holi is a festival of celebrating the harmony within the society.
- Until now we discussed the impacts of Holi upon the cultures and traditions but is it equally impactful upon the striving society that plays a vitalized role in strengthening the country.
- Much like other festivals celebrated around the globe, Holi is a celebration that is free of any discrimination regardless of the caste, color, religion, gender, breed, creed, or community.
- Though it is festival of colors, with a belief that the festival is incomplete without playing with colors, Holi doesn’t force anyone to celebrate the occasion or apply the colors. It goes further to respect other cultures, religions, and communities to celebrate with them just by inviting to feasts, gifting sweets, and other decorative items. Therefore, without even using colors, non-hindus are still allowed to celebrate the occasion in great grandeousness.
- Also, the tradition of the Holi is that even the enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any feeling of hardship that may be present. Besides, on this day people do not differentiate between the rich and poor and everybody celebrate the festival together with a spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood.
- In the evening people visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts, sweets, and greetings. This helps in revitalizing relationships and strengthening emotional bonds between people.
The unforgettable inheritance of Holi
- Many of us even as Hindus won’t believe that is even a biological inheritance to such an event.
- Truly, it is interesting to note that the festival of Holi is significant for our lives and body in many other ways than providing joy and fun.
- All hats off and gratefulnessto our great forefathers, who started the trend of celebrating Holi at such a scientifically accurate time. And, also for incorporating so much fun in the festival.
In a Nutshell:
- As Holi comes at a time of the year when people tend to feel sleepy and lazy.
- This is natural for the body to experiences some unpunctuality and retardation due to the change from the cold to the heat in the atmosphere. To counteract this tardiness of the body, people sing loudly or even speak loudly. Their movements are brisk, and their music is loud. All of this helps to rejuvenate the system of the human body.
- Besides, when the colors or the “Abeer” and liquid dyes are sprayed on the body perforates into the bodily pores impacting the human body to activate the ions so as to add health and beauty. These colors also kill the unnecessary germs and diseases housing in our bodies in the form of skin-depth grimes.
- There is yet another scientific reason related to these colors. While performing Parikrima, the ritual of HolikaDahan, the fire that is burnt generally rises to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
- On circumambulation (Parikrama) around the decorated raging fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it. These micro-organisms house our bodies due to the mutation period of winter and spring, that induces them to growth in the atmosphere as well as in the body.
- People also clean-up their houses on Holi which helps in clearing up the dust and mess in the house and get rid of mosquitoes and other pests. A clean house generally makes the residents feel good and generate positive energies.