Bright shimmering colors, water gun (Pichakaris), water balloons and bhang (edible cannabis juice); all these remind us of a colorful festival – Holi; where people rejoice and celebrate with each other forgetting all grudges and becoming one. Holi is one of the most famous festival celebrated mostly in Nepal and India. It is celebrated by throwing colors to one another, dancing and singing which traditionally marks the victory of good over evil.
Holi, the time when we add colors to our life. When we soak in bright colors and happiness and bring joy in people’s life. We celebrate this festival of colors to share our joy and happiness with everyone around.
Here are, 10 Most Interesting Facts About The Hindu Festival, Holi which will help you know more about the festival of colors.
1. The Origin of Name ‘Holi’
The legends have this story for Holika – ‘there was once a demon king ‘Hiranyakashyap’ who believed he was the most powerful king and wanted everyone to worship him. But his son Prahlad did not worship his father knowing his evil intentions, he rather worshipped the god Vishnu. This made the demon king enraged so he decided to murder his son. The king asked his sister Holika to kill Prahlad. As Holika was immune to fire, she decided to burn Prahlad. She pulled Prahlad and sat in the middle of a bonfire. Then, Prahlad sat in the fire and prayed to god Vishnu, so he saved him and Holika was burned to death.
2. Celebration of Good Over Evil
Following this, the festival, Holi is celebrated as the victory of good over evil or truth over ignorance. It is celebrated since ages on the day Holika was burnt in Nepal and the next day in India.
3. Another Story Behind The Origin of Holi
When Lord Krishna was poisoned by the breast milk of Putana which made his skin blue in color, Lord Krishna doubted if fair skinned Radha would like him. As he was sad over his dark complexion, his mother ‘Yashoda’ said that he can smear color on Radha’s face and change her complexion. So he did it and became happy as Radha accepted him despite his skin color.
Thus, Holi is also celebrated for divine love as of Krishna and Radha. It is celebrated with colors which actually make all of us so similar. (Source)
4. Praying Around A Bonfire
A night before Holi, people gather around a bonfire and do religious rituals asking for forgiveness from the god and praying to wipe out their evilness. It is also called Holika Dahan. This is a common practice in India which is not very known in Nepal.
5. Festival of Equality
Holi is the first festival that started teaching the message of equality. People play with colors by putting it in each other’s face despite differences in caste, culture, and religion. This festival is an attempt to dissolve boundaries.
6. Bhang Juice
While celebrating Holi, people drink juice made out of bhang as it is known to uplift the spirit of the crowd by eradicating all sorts of restriction and enmity. The interesting thing about bhang is that it is an edible cannabis juice which is shared among family and friends during this festival.
7. Holi In the City of Kathmandu
In the city of Kathmandu, one week before the day of Holi, a Chir (Bamboo Pole) covered with colorful clothes is erected in Hanuman Dhoka (Temple of Lord Hanuman). On the eve of Holi, it is taken down and burnt to symbolize the death of the evil Holika.
This Marks the end of the festival and everyone returns back home to get cleaned.
8. Celebration Last For Up To Seven or 16 Days
In Kathmandu, most kids could be seen with water balloons and water guns, since a week before of Holi, just a few years back. As the Bamboo Pole cover with colorful clothes is erected at the Hanuman Temple before a week. It marks the start of the festival, thus, it was a common practice to splash water and have fun since a week before.
In the region of India where Krishna was born, the Hindu festival of Holi is celebrated for at least 16 days.
9. The End of Cold Winter
Holi is celebrated after the full moon in the month of ‘Phalgun’ (falls between February and March). The Festival also signifies the beginning of spring and end of cold long winter days.
10. The Evolving Celebration of Holi
The festival of Holi is a wonderful festival loved by anyone who celebrates it. Thus, it has spread beyond Nepal and India to several communities around the world. Today, we can see people celebrating Holi even in the streets of Barcelona, Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Philippines and the major cities in UK and USA.