March 15, 2008


The colorful festival of Holi

Holi 2008 : Saturday, March 22
The festival of Holi is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March every year.
Holi is one of the oldest Hindu festivals.

The story centres around an arrogant king who resents his son Prahlada worshipping Lord Vishnu. He attempts to kill his son but fails each time. Finally, the king's sister Holika who is said to be immune to burning, sits with the boy in a huge fire. However, the prince Prahlada emerges unscathed, while his aunt burns to death. Holi commemorates this event from mythology, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation
Story Of Holika and Prahlad:
There was a demon-king named Hiranyakashipu .who won over the kingdom of earth and ordered everybody to worship him and not the God. However, his little son Prahlad refused to do so and continued to worship the almighty Lord Vishnu, the Hindu God. He tried many times to kill him but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. One of the sisters of the king named Holika had powers to walk through fire unharmed. Thus he ordered her to kill Prahlad by walking through the fire with him. However, Lord VISHNU came to his help and Prahlad was saved while Holika perished. Somehow, she didn't knew that her powers were only effective if she entered the fire alone. Even today, bonfires are lit on the night of Holi in memory of the event and burning of the wicked aunt Holika.

Holi is spread out over two days (it used to be five, and in some places it is longer). The entire holiday is associated with a loosening of social restrictions normally associated with caste, sex, status and age. Holi thus bridges social gaps and brings people together: employees and employers, men and women, rich and poor, young and old.

On the evening of the first day of Holi, a public bonfire is held, commemorating the burning of Holika. Traditionally, Hindu boys spend the weeks prior to Holi combing the neighborhood for any waste wood they can find for the bonfire. The fire is lit sometime between 10 PM and midnight (at the rising of the moon), not generally in an orderly fashion. Everyone gathers in the street for the event, and the air rings with shouts, catcalls, curses and general mayhem.
The central ritual of Holi is the throwing and applying of colored water and powders on friends and family, which gives the holiday its common name "Festival of Colors."

In Bengal, Holi features the Dolayatra (Swing Festival), in which images of the gods are placed on specially decorated platforms and devotees take turns swinging them. In the meantime, women dance around and sing special songs as men spray colored water at them.

This exuberant festival is also associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha,
Story Of Radha and Krishna:
Lord Krishna was dark while his spiritual love-mate Radha had fair-complexion. So child Krishna often used to complain about the injustice of nature towards him to his mother Yashoda and would ask her the reason. One day, Yashoda suggested Krishna to apply color on Radha's face and changeher complexion in any color he desired. The naughty Krisha immediately set off to his mission and one can often see paintings and murals depicting Krishna throwing colors on Radha and other 'gopis'. This lovable prank of throwing colored powder and water jets called 'pichkaris' soon gained favor with the peotradition of Holi. This is the reason that people often carry images of Krishna and Radha through the streets. The Holi of Mathura region, where Krishna was born, has a special fervor.

Holi is observed all over the north, it's celebrated with special joy and zest at Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, and Barsnar. These towns once housed the divine Krishna. Each area celebrates Holi differently; the Bhil tribesmen of western Madhya Pradesh, who've retained many of their pre-Hindu customs, celebrate holi in a unique way.
In rural Maharashtra State, where the festival is known as Rangapanchami it is celebrated with dancing and singing.
In the towns of Rajasthan — especially Jaisalmer — the music's great, and clouds of pink, green, and turquoise powder fill the air. The grounds of Jaisalmer's Mandir Palace are turned into chaos, with dances, folk songs, and colored-powder confusion.
Story Of Kamadeva:
After the death of his consort Sati, Lord Shiva was so shocked and hurt that he went into a deep meditation and stopped looking after his worldly responsibilities. This led to many complications in the world's affairs. Thus, gods conspired to bring him out of his trance with the help of Goddess Parvati, who wished to marry the great lord and Kamadeva, the God of love, passion and lust. Though, mindful of the consequences, Kamadeva undertook the task for the world's good and shot one of his love arrows on the great Lord who had mastered all the worldly temptations. As Shiva's eyes opened, he was furious by the trick of Kamdeva and directed the wrath of his third eye on him and burned him on the spot. However, later he did give him an immortal life. It is believed that Lord Shiva burned Kamadeva on the day of Holi and thus, many people worship him for his sacrifice and offer him a mango blossoms that he loved and sandalwood paste to cool off the pain of his fatal burns.

The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other 'Happy Holi'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi
Popular Holi songs from Bollywood

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