Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival in India and Nepal, also known as colors of festival or festival of sharing love.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter, on the last full moon day of the Hindu month Phalguna.Which is normally fall between late February and March.
The festival has many purposes, signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships mostly welcoming the Spring and saying farewell to winter.
During spring season, people get sick by getting cold and cough due to weather changes. The playful throwing of natural coloured powders has a medicinal significance: the colors are traditionally made of turmeric, neem, dhak, kumkum, and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Āyurvedic doctors.
Holi is two day festival, on first day, Night before Holi with a Holika bonefire where people gather, sing, dance and party. The next day is the highlight of Holi festival. People get out of the street with their dry color powder and colored water with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons are dashed, sprayed also splashed to everyone in a playful manner. After cleaning up, people put new cloths and visit friends and family. People feast on a variety of sweets, delicacies and drinks (Bhang). Holi is also a festival of forgiveness and new starts.
There is a mythological origins of the Holi festival. First is the tale about the demon king Hiranyakashipu and his evil sister Holika where the term “Holi” was believed to be derived. The demon king became so arrogant and demanded that everyone worship only him. But his son Prahlada disobeyed and remained faithful in worshipping Lord Vishnu.
In spite of cruel punishment to his son Prahlada, he was reminded to Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu ordered that Prahlada and Holika sit on raging fire. Holika was believed to be immune from fire because of her magical cloak . But as the fire roared, the cloak miraculously flew towards Prahlada saving him while his aunt Holika was burned. The demon king became more infuriated and Lord Vishnu suddenly appeared and killed him. After the fire, people gathered to collect the ashes and applied it to their foreheads. The bonfire that killed Holika eventually symbolized the victory of good versus evil.
The second tale is about lord Krishna and his love Radha. Lord Krishna fell in love with Radha but became hesitant because of his dark blue skin color. To boost the confidence of Krishna, his mother Yashoda advised him to color Radha’s face with any color he wanted. Krishna did and Radha and Krishna became a couple. This playful coloring of the face has been the explanation of today’s Holi tradition.
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