Holi the Origin,Story Fall of Tyrant,Tale of Love & Colour
Origin of Holi – The Festival of Colors
Also known by the name Fagu Purnima around the world, a global festival it is indeed, for the powder that revellers throw on each other, leaving festival-goers coated in colour by the end of the day, the Hindu spring festival is rightly called the Festival of Colors.
Holi origin inscriptions in ancient texts Holi ceremony and rituals find a mention in “Bhavishya Purana” and “Narad Purana”. “Jamini Mimansa” is another source where rituals associated with Holi is mentioned. A stone inscription dating back to more than 300 years ago has “Holikotsav” engraved on it. This stone was found in Ramgarh in Vindhya Province. You will also come across the word Holi in Ratnavali that was written during the 7th century when King Harsha ruled. This further strengthens the fact that Holi was observed several years before Christ.
Observed much pomp and splendour, it lasts in most regions for a night and a day, starting on the evening of Purnima, the full moon day of the Month Phalguna, in the Georgian calendar which falls somewhere between the end of February and middle of March. The festival of colours has two famous stories of how it started to be celebrated, i.e. the origin of Holi.
However, colours and rich traditional cuisine isn’t all to the festival, it, in fact, has a deeply-rooted historical significance, the triumph of good over evil; the day officially marks the arrival of the much-awaited spring bringing the gloomy days of the winter to an end, and for farmers, they celebrate it as the thanksgiving for good harvest.
Story Fall of Tyrant – Hiranyakashyapu, and Prahalad
As the tales have it after Lord Vishnu assassinated the younger brother of the demon lord, Hiranyakashipu. Apart from avenging his brother’s death, and also because he had been granted a boon that earned him five special powers: he could be killed by neither a human being nor an animal, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither at day nor at night, neither by Astra, projectile weapons, nor by any Shastra, handheld weapons, and neither on land nor in water or air, the Asura king had the ulterior motive of ruling the heaven, the earth, and the underworld by defeating Vishnu. His boosted ego made Hiranyakashipu feel invincible, on his orders, his whole state started praying him, dismissing the gods, he aimed to establish himself as the principal deity and of all.
On the other hand, his son Prahlad, maintained his deity to be none but Lord Vishnu. Angered, the tyrant king decided to kill Prahlad with the help of Holika, Hiranyakashipu’s sister, who was immune to fire. A pyre was lit and Holika sat on it, clutching Prahalad. But leaving many including the demon Lord astounded, Prahlad emerged out of the fire unscathed, whereas Holika burned to ashes. Hiranyakashipu, too, was eventually killed by Vishnu, taking the avatar of Narashima.
Even today, the story of Holika is re-enacted by actors on Holi. Bonfires across the country are lit up to celebrate the burning away of the evil spirits and the triumph of good over evil. This is the most famous event believed by the Hindus to be the key reason for the origin of Holi.
Adding to the smearing of colours on each others’ faces, splashing people with water by throwing water balloons at them and heartily indulging in sweet delicacies that are made especially for the occasion, the observers of the festival also have a beautiful history from the time immemorial to boast of.
Tale of Love & Colour – Sri Krishna and Radha
In the Braj region of India, also known as Brij or Brijbhoomi, particularly in the two cities of Vrindavan and Mathura, where Lord Krishna is closely associated with, the festival is celebrated in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Krishna. The spring festival has a symbolic myth behind commemorating Krishna as well.
As a baby, Krishna developed his characteristic dark blue skin colour because the she-demon Putana poisoned him with her breast milk. The Hindu deity despaired by his dark-blue skin whined to his mother whether the fair-skinned Radha and other girls would like him despite him being so dark. His mother, tired of the desperation, advised him to approach Radha and colour her face in any colour he wanted. This he does, and ever since, the playful colouring of Radha’s face has been commemorated as Holi.
Significances of Color
In Hinduism red is auspicious color. Since clay earth is red and produces many harvests, the color red is also representative of fertility. As a bold color, red symbolizes bold emotions and characteristics, such as passion, sensuality, power, and strength. The deities who wear red, such as the goddess Durga, possess the respectable qualities that the color represents.
White, which is composed of many colors, symbolizes a range of notions in the Hindu religion. It is worn by deities who are equated with peacefulness, innocence, and purity, such as the goddess Saraswati. The cleanliness of the color white symbolizes new beginnings and rebirth. Alternatively, white is also symbolic of death in Hinduism.
Green items, such as leaves, are used in many Hindu prayer rituals because the color is representative of the natural world, it also represents fertility, life, and rebirth that are found in nature. Ultimately, green is considered a color that symbolizes the same tranquility and calmness evident in the deities and the natural world.
Saffron is also symbolic of the cleansing and purity that comes from burning objects.
Hindu gods, such as Vishnu, Krishna, and Shiva, are depicted as having blue skin, it also represents the characteristics that many of the deities possess, such as bravery, goodness, determination, and protectiveness.
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Like the color of the sun, yellow also represents the characteristics of the sun, such as light, warmth, and happiness. Furthermore, due to the abundant presence of the sun during spring, yellow symbolizes new beginnings and developments.
People use water balloons filled with colored water, water guns, buckets filled with colored water or dirty water, and various other contraptions to spray color and rejoice. It is a free for all activity of fun and play, in which everyone is a fair target, be it friends or strangers, rich or poor, men or women, and children and elders. Traditionally, washable natural plant-derived colors such as turmeric, neem, dhak, and kumkum were used.
The frolic and friendly fights with cheers and loud noises take place in all towns and villages in open grounds, streets, public places, and even the backyards of homes. People go out in processions, carrying drums, musical instruments, colored water and powder. They sing and dance, visit friends and family, throw colors, hug and drink. Some consume milk or sweets which are mixed with bhang, an herbal intoxicant made from the leaves of cannabis. In the evening, after sobering up, they dress up and visit friends and family.