Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulibandhan – whatever you call it. This festival invokes a grand sense of excitement among children and adult alike. Its one of the popular festival in India and Nepal, the 2 major Hindu oriented countries.
Holi is celebrated on the last full moon of the lunar month of Phagun at the end of winter season. It either falls in late February or early march. Holi marks the end of winter season, arrival of spring, beginning of new year for few communities.
There are many legend associated with Holi. One such popular legend is of Holika. According to an ancient text or ‘Narada Puran’ there was an demon king called Hiranyakashyap, who terrorized people to worship him. He was ruthless and wanted everyone to treat him as God. To his surprise, his own son, Prahlad refused to worship him. Prahlad was immensely devoted to lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap efforts to transform his son into his worshiper was always thwarted, due to the efforts of Lord Vishnu. On many occasions he even tried killing his own son, but he never succeeded. He soon realized that he may not be able to kill Prahlad, so he enlisted the help of Holika. Holika was a demon, who was believed to be invulnerable to the effects of fire. She ordered for a fire to be lit and then grabbed Prahlad and sat on the pit of flames. Its believed that she had a special cloak which made her invulnerable to fire. But the moment Prahlad sat on her lap, the cloak covered him instead and Holika was burned to ashes. Prahlad later learnt that Lord Vishnu granted him protection to reward his devotion.
Another Legend speaks about Lord Krishna and Radha. When Krishna was young, he envied the fair skin Radha. He kept questioning his mother about him being black and Radha being fair skinned. Unable to think for solution, she told Krishna that he can color Radha’s face in any color of his choice. Krishna eventually rubbed many colors on Radha’s face, thus marking the beginning of a tradition, where in people rub colors on each others face on Holi.
Holi is celebrated on 2 days. The first day is ‘Choti Holi’ and the second day is ‘Dhuleti’ or ‘Dhulibandhan’. On the occasion of Choti Holi, people burn wood and leaves in a born fires. They offer prayers and put coconuts in the flame. This symbolizes the end of worries and troubles and marks the beginning of a new health and prosperous year. It also symbolizes the burning of all the evil and sadness, just like Holika. It’s therefore known as ‘Holika Dahan’ . Is a joyous activity for people to sing, dance and pray.
The second day is a splash of colors. Kids and adults soak each other in water and apply color on each other. People forget their enemies and come together to celebrate Holi. Many festival goers enjoy Holi by consuming bhang – a treat made from Cannabis paste.
Holi is celebrated in different ways in every part of India. Whatever be the way, the excitement is the same in every Indian. The only drawback in Holi is that people get intoxicated by consuming Bhang. This after leads to fights. On many occasions small fights turn very violent too.
Therefore few things to remember to Holi.
- There is scarcity of water every where, so lets not waste water just for some fun. Save water as much as you can.
- Avoid using chemical based colors, instead use herbal colors. You can make your own herbal colors too. All ingredients can be found in your kitchen, so go herbal and be safe.
- Again, chemical based colors harms the skin and eyes and leaves marks on the body for few days. So avoid them completed and kept children away from them.
- Protect your skin, eye and hair. If possible wear full sleeve clothes and cover yourself top to bottom and don’t let colors get into your eyes as they are very sensitive. Keep your head covered with Bandana.
- Mumbai Police has issues a warning, that if you see anyone misbehaving with women, an immediate FIR will be filled against them.
- Keep the women around you safe. Many people from neighboring areas come together to play Holi. Its everyone duty to make sure that the women are safe and not groped.
- Don’t let children get away from you, in all the clash of color, you may not recognize your own kid. If he or she wanders somewhere (especially toddlers)
- In case of emergency, contact the Police. Police will be patrolling more vigilantly.
- Avoid alcohol and bhang.
- Avoid throwing water balloons at pedestrians and bikers.
Keeping in mind all the important notes, don’t forget to enjoy Holi with all your heart and spirit!!