Holi- A Celebration of Good Over Evil
India is a country of celebrations, with festivals every few months to mark mythological and traditional events. Indians take celebrations seriously, as this is a time for families and friends to come together. Blessings and presents are exchanged by one and all. Sweets are the one of the most circulated goodies. Indians believe that on occasion of a good news/happy event, a sweet must be had, in local languages said as “ Muh mitha karo” . Lights,Colour and Music are synonomous with Indian festivities.
Dates of all festivals are based on the phases of the moon.
One of the most awaited festivals this year is HOLI, this march 23rd. Also called the festival of colours, it is enjoyed by young and old.
In some parts of India, specially in Bengal and Orissa, Holi Purnima is also celebrated as the birthday of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu . However, the literal meaning of the word 'Holi' is 'burning'. There are various legends to explain the meaning of this word, most prominent of all is the legend associated with demon king Hiranyakashyap.
Hiranyakashyap wanted everybody in his kingdom to worship only him but to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana. Hiaranyakashyap commanded his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter fire without any damage on herself. However, 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 Prahlad was saved by the grace of the god for his extreme devotion. The festival, therefore, celebrates the victory of good over evil and also the triumph of devotion.
Legend of Lord Krishna is also associated with play with colors as the Lord started the tradition of play with colours by applying colour on his beloved Radha and other gopis. Gradually, the play gained popularity with the people and became a tradition.
There are also a few other legends associated with the festival - like the legend of Shiva and Kaamadeva and those of Ogress Dhundhi and Pootana. All depict triumph of good over evil - lending a philosophy to the festival.