Festival Of Colors - Holi
History of Holi
Holi is an ancient festival of Hinduism and it was basically known as 'Holika'. The festivals find a full description of early religious activities such as Jaimini's Purva Mimamsa. Historians also think that Holi was celebrated by all Aryans but more so in the Eastern part of India as well as Nepal too.
It is said that Holi existed in various times before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is understood to have developed over the years. Earlier it was a specific rite performed by married women for the pleasure and well-being of their families. There are two ways of considering a lunar month- 'purnimanta’. In the earlier, the first day starts after the full moon, and in the end, after the new moon.
According to this purnimanta adjustment, Phalguna Purnima was the last day of the year and the new year announcing the Basanta-Utsav (with spring starting from the next day). Thus, the full moon celebration of Holika gradually became a celebration and, announcing the celebration of the spring season.
In some parts of India, especially in Bengal and Orissa, Holi Purnima is also celebrated as the birthday of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1533). Nevertheless, the true meaning of the word 'Holi' is 'burning'. There are many myths to explain the meaning of this word, most famous of all is the legend associated with demon king HiranyaKashyap.
HiranyaKashyap desired everybody in his kingdom to worship only him but to his great disappointment, his son, Prahalad became an enthusiastic believer of Lord Narayana (Bishnu). Hiaranyakashyap instructed his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahalad in her lap. Holika had a boon on how she could enter fire without any damage to herself But, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. As a result, she paid a price for her sinister desires, while Prahalad was saved by the grace of the god for his extreme loyalty. The festival, therefore, celebrates the victory of good over evil and also the achievement of worship.
Legend of Lord Krishna is also associated with play with colors as the Lord started the tradition of play with colors by applying color on his beloved Radha and other gopnies. Gradually, the play gained popularity with the people and became a tradition.
Rituals of Holi
Rituals of the ancient festival of Holi are religiously followed every year with responsibility and enthusiasm.
Days before the festival people start collecting wood for the lighting of the bonfire called Holika at the major crossroads of the city. This assures that at the time of the actual celebration a large quantity of wood is collected.
Holika Dahan Celebrations (Bonfire) :-
On the eve of Holi, Holika Dahan takes place. Holika, the devil convinced sister of demon King Hiranya Kashyap is placed in the wood and burnt For, Holika tried to kill Hiranya Kashyap’s son Prahalad, a faithful believer of Lord Narayana (Bishnu Bhakt). The ritual symbolizes the victory of good over evil and also the achievement of a true believer.
Play of Colors :-
The next day, is, of course, the main day of Holi celebrations. On this day that the actual play of colors takes place. There is no tradition of holding puja and is meant for pure enjoyment. People take total enjoyment in spraying color water on each other with pichkaris or pouring buckets and buckets of it. That is why Holi is given a name “festival of colors”
Holi, along with many other Hindu festivals, is celebrated in Nepal like a national festival. It is celebrated in the Nepali month of Phagun and means the stories of the Hindu god Krishna, Newar Buddhists and others worship Saraswati shrine in Vajrayogini temples and celebrate the festival. Traditional concerts are held in most cities Nepal, including Kathmandu, Narayanghat, Pokhara, Itahari, Hetauda, and Dharan, and broadcast on television with various celebrity guests.
People walk into their neighborhoods to celebrate Holi by changing colors and spraying colored water on one another. A traditional activity is the throwing of water balloons at one another, Many people mix bhang in their drinks and food to eat, It is considered that the combination of different colors at this festival takes all sorrow away and makes life itself more colorful.