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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Holi 2023: Understanding the Historical and Cultural Significance of Colorful Festival

Holi is a vibrant and lively festival celebrated across India to signify the victory of good over evil. The festival is split into two events, Holika Dahan and Dhulivandan, both of which symbolize different aspects of the Holi festival. Holika Dahan takes place the night before Dhulivandan, where people burn wood and dung cakes in a symbolic lure to signify good defeating evil. On the other hand, Dhulivandan is a noisy affair where people throw colourful powder (Gulal) at one another playfully, while getting drenched in water.

Holi is a day of forgiveness, friendliness, oneness, and equality. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy, and the timing of the festival is synchronized with the moon, which means that the dates of each celebration vary. Holi generally falls in the month of February or March and will be celebrated on the 8th of March this year all over the county.

The Legend of Prahlad and Holika

One of the most famous mythological stories behind Holi is the legend of Prahlad and Holika. It is believed that the evil king Hiranyakashyap stopped his son Prahlad from worshipping God Vishnu. However, God Vishnu helped his devotee Prahlad and burned his wicked aunt Holika to death to signify the victory of good over evil. Before her demise, Holika begged Prahlad for forgiveness. Hence, Prahlad announced that she would be remembered every year at Holi. This is why the burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi across India.

The Legend of Radha and Krishna

Holi also celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna, which describes the extreme delight, Krishna took in applying colour to Radha and other Gopis. This act of Krishna later became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities.

The Legend of Shiva and Kamadeva

In Southern India, people celebrate the sacrifice of the Lord of Passion Kaamadeva, who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and save the world.

The Legend of Ogress Dhundhi

Another popular legend of Holi is that of Ogress Dhundhi who used to trouble children in the kingdom of Raghu and was ultimately chased away by the pranks of the children on the day. Children play pranks and hurl abuses at the time of Holika Dahan till date.

It is also a time when the fields are in full bloom, and people expect a good harvest. Today, Holi signifies a day that brings society together and strengthens the secular fabric of our country.

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