Finally, it is the time of the year when we can immerse ourselves in cold water and a glaring, eye-catching set of colors. If there is one thing you can't steer away from an Indian, it is their delicious and diverse cuisines and the vibrancy in their hearts. (That's two things, actually!)The Holi festival splendidly contains both qualities in it. Be it the endless saga of using colors on each other or the mouth-watering dishes to shoo away all your fatigue "post-game," the Holi festival contains the essence of every Indian in a fair and exact amount. The Festival of Holi-The Festival of Holi-The Festival of Holi-The Festival of Holi
Having said that, you must be wondering why we celebrate the Holi festival with colors, aren't you? More precisely, why do we celebrate Holi in the first place? Well, to understand the origins behind this Hindu tradition, we have to go a little deeper into our history. (In fact, you might call it Mythology!) Stay with me as I take you in a time machine and go back to our past to understand the present!Why do we celebrate the Holi festival?No festival in the Hindu tradition is without a backstory or an origin. Holi, the festival of colors, is no exception. The origins of the Holi festival traces back to the Hindu epic "Bhagavata Purana" and the story of the demon king Hiranyakashipu and his son Prahlad. Hiranyakashipu had received a boon from Lord Brahma, which made him immortal as no "man or beast, nor devil, nor god," could cause him death. Blindfolded by the boon, he started doing what every villain does! He considered himself the God and ordered everyone to worship him alone. If this wasn't enough, he started a journey of conquest in all the 3 Loks of the world. Interestingly, his son Prahlad was a big-time Vishnu devotee! This didn't go well for Hiranyakashipu as he decided to kill his son as the only fix to the situation. He tried many attempts but failed.As a last resort, he asked his sister Holika to take Prahlad in her lap and sit in a burning fire. Holika, however, had a cloak that could protect anyone from burning in a fire. She made Prahlad wear the cloak and sat on the fire. Holika burned to ashes as a result of the fire, while Prahlad remained intact. Since then, the night is celebrated as the "Holika Dahan." Later on, Vishnu, in the form of Narasimha, killed the demon king Hiranyakashipu and brought an end to the troubles on Earth.The Holi festival begins with the Holika bonfire. It symbolizes the burning of evil or the win of good over evil. Braj and Barsana Holi:The roots of Holi and the splashing of colors on others are also connected to Lord Krishna and his birthplace. According to many tales, during the Dwapar yug, Lord Krishna would complain to his mother about the differences in complexion between him and Radha. Lord Krishna was dark-complexioned (there are many stories to this as well), while Radha was fair. On hearing the complaints, Yashoda would suggest Lord Krishna cover Radha with different colors too. According to Hindu traditions, it is believed that Lord Krishna would every year embark on a journey from Nandagaon to Barsana, thus giving rise to the Braj and Barsana Holi.Braj covers many principal villages in the Hindu tradition, namely Gokul, Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana, and Nandagaon. The celebrations of Holi in Braj are significantly different from the rest of India.One of the most captivating celebrations is the Lath Mar Holi. Men from Nandagaon, the homeplace of Lord Krishna, dresses like the lord himself and visit Barsana to play Holi. The women, however, beat the men with sticks on purpose, and hence the name derived from the act.Another notable instance is from Vrindavan, where widows immerse each other in colors during the Holi festival. The Festival of Holi-The Festival of Holi-The Festival of Holi
The Holi procession at Mathura and the Raas Leela in different places are all sites to behold during the festive week. The Braj and Barsana Holi is a prime example of how proceeding with the age-old Hindu traditions can be fun and exciting at the same time. Conclusion:Behind the glitters and flashes of the Holi festival, there are many underlying concepts essential to modern society. Right from the victory of good over bad to coloring the stains of inequality and prejudices based on caste, creed, and religion, Holi is a festival for every one of us.