I want to personally wish all of you a Happy Holi. Growing up in India I have vivid memories of celebrating Holi. It is one of the few holidays when adults and children can celebrate life by playing together. I hope this spring season is a joyous one for you and your family.
What is Holi??
Holi, the Festival of Colors, is a spring festival celebrated by Indians all over the world with bursts of color, food and celebratory sweets.
How is it celebrated?
On the first day of this festival, Hindus participate in a public bonfire which represents the triumph of good over evil. Participants celebrate the main festival by smearing fists of neon powdered color and spraying water on their friends and family joyously. Imagine a large water fight with lots of color.
Legend behind Holi:
The story behind Holi is associated with the Demon King, Hiranyakashyap, who wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship him as their god. His religious son, Prahlad, refused to worship his father as his God, and was a devotee to Lord Vishnu. Because of this “betrayal,” Hiranyakashyap wanted Prince Prahlad to be killed.
Hiranyakashyap ordered his sister Holika to sit on a pyre of fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon from the Fire God that made her immune to fire however what she didn’t realize that her boon only worked when she entered the fire alone. Because of Prahlad’s extreme dedication to Lord Vishnu, Prahlad was saved by Lord Vishnu and Holika was burnt to ashes. The bonfire on the first day of Holi celebrates this triumph of good over evil.
Influence on other Cultures:
Other cultures are picking up on Holi’s colorful traditions and incorporating them in their events like Color in Motion and Color Me Rad 5K color runs, which are wide spread throughout the US. The concept is different, but the tradition is the same. They show up dressed in white, and for every kilometer/mile they run, they are doused in a different color.