Holi is a popular festival of colors that holds an exceptional place in Hindu mythology. This popular ancient Hindu festival was originated from the Indian subcontinent. As per the traditions, Holi is widely known as the Indian “festival of spring”, the “festival of colors”, and even the “festival of love”.
Initially, the day was celebrated to honor good harvests of the Rabi crop, the fruitful land before the Kharif crop as well as the rains. Now, Holi celebrates the beginning of a new season-spring. It was a time for enjoying the end of winter along with the beginning of spring filled with hope and joy.
As per the Hindu calendar, Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which as per to Gregorian calendar comes in either the month of February or March.
This ancient Hindu religious festival is not only popular in Hindu tradition but also in non-Hindus traditions and in many parts of South Asia, along with many people of other communities outside Asia.
Why Holi is Celebrated?
The word Holi is derived from the name of Hiranyakashipu’s sister, named Holika. As per Hindu mythology, King Hiranyakashipu, who was the ruler of the great demons was granted a blessing by Brahma, the god of wisdom and because of this made it almost made it impossible for him to be killed by anyone. The godsend was a gift due to his extended reparation. As a result, he grew arrogant and attacked the Heavens and the Earth. He commanded that the people to stop worshipping Gods and from now on should start praising him.
But the son of Hiranyakashipu, named Prahlada, was a devotee of Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu then threatened his own son to stop worshiping God but Prahlada didn’t stop and continued offering prayers to Lord Vishnu. He made several attempts to kill his own son but always failed. At last, he ordered Prahlada to sit on the lap of Holika, Hiranyakashipu’s demoness sister, who was also blessed to get prevented from her from being burned by fire.
Prahlada accepted the orders of his father and prayed to Lord Vishnu to keep him safe. To his amaze, Holika burnt to death, while Prahlada survived unharmed. This event is now celebrated as Holika Dahan or the burning of Holika also popularly known as Chhoti Holi.
Significance of Holi
Holi is a popular Hindu festival that signifies the arrival of spring, and the end of the winter season, the prospering of love. On this festive day, people meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, as well as repair their broken relationships.
The festival on the other hand also celebrates the commencement of a good spring harvest season. This festival lasts for a night and a day, beginning on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day) which falls in the Vikram Samvat calendar, in the month of Phalguna according to the Hindu calendar, which in the Gregorian calendar falls around the middle of March.
The first evening of this popular festival is known as Holika Dahan- which means burning of demon Holika- or else also known as Chhoti Holi. The next day Holi is celebrated which is also popularly known as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi, or Phagwah.