Holi, the Hindu festival of spring, heralds the arrival of warmth and abundance. Whether you’re celebrating in India or America, this festive time is a chance to come together with friends and family for some fun-filled activities.
Origin of Holi
Legends abound about the origins of Holi, but one popular tale involves King Hiranyakashipu and his son Prahlad. The king believed he was immortal and wanted everyone to worship him, yet Prahlad, a devotee of Vishnu, refused to obey his orders. Ultimately, Vishnu appeared as a half-lion/half-man hybrid and defeated Hiranyakashipu – thus celebrating Holi as a celebration of good over evil.
On Holi, people paint each other with vibrant dyes to bring out the best in them and symbolize new beginnings. Each color has a special significance; red, yellow, blue and green signifying love and fertility respectively.
The colors are thought to symbolize the coming spring season and, at night, they’re meant to cleanse away any negative energies or demons. For some, this symbolizes a commitment to live life well and be better in the future; while others see it as an opportunity to let go of past hurt and unpleasant memories.
Children begin to get excited a few days before Holi by splashing their friends with colored water cannons, or “pichkaris.” Markets outside cities and villages are decorated with vibrant balloons, decorations and other embellishments.
Holi is not a religious holiday, but instead draws inspiration from Hindu texts and stories celebrating devotion to deities, love and more. Aside from celebrating with family and friends, Holi also provides an opportunity to take a break from daily life’s stresses and enjoy the warmth of springtime.
On the morning of Holi, people usually congregate around a communal cup of hot water and take turns soaking themselves. Afterward, they sprinkling colored powders – known as gulal – on each other with water guns or other weapons.
As you can imagine, Holi is an enjoyable festival full of energy and laughter. However, in order to keep the festival clean and wholesome, certain items should be avoided during this celebration.
For instance, it is forbidden to use coal tar, dirty drain water or mud as splashing agents on people during quarrels as it reduces the sanctity of this festival. Furthermore, using alcoholic beverages or liquor is strictly forbidden on this day as it shows disrespect towards the gods and goddesses.
Furthermore, it is essential to abide by a code of conduct on this day. This means knowing who your teammates will be and not letting emotions get the better of you. Doing so will prevent any kind of harm from taking place during the festival.