Holi, the Hindu festival of colours and food, is back for another year.
The annual festival celebrates the arrival of spring and the ending of winter. It will be held on Wednesday, 8 March.
Holi, also known as the “festival for love”, the “festival to spring” or the “festival festival of colours,” is celebrated across many South Asian communities including India and throughout the world.
Celebrations of the festival are usually divided into two days, called Jalanewali Holi or Rangwali Holi.
Jalanewali Holi, which is a day of family and friends gathering after sunset, is a day to light a bonfire, sometimes throwing grains, popcorn, and chickpeas in the fire for rituals.
Rangwali Holi, the second day of this festival, celebrates spring’s beginning. People gather to play with water and coloured powder.
This ancient festival celebrates the victory of good over evil. One legend that may indicate where Holi originated is the tale of Holika and Prahlad.
According to legend, Holika was the sister Hiranyakashipu’s evil king, who had supernatural powers that made him feel unstoppable.
The King believed that all people should worship him and that those who did not obey his orders would be punished.
Prahlad Hiranyakashipu, Hiranyakashipu’s son, refused to worship his father, and he disobeyed the command.
Prahlad chose to worship Vishnu, a Hindu God, instead.
The King felt betrayed and decided to kill Prahlad by his son with the help Holika. Holika had a special cloak which protected her from fire.
Holika lit the fire, following the order of the king, and sat down with Prahlad in the flames in an attempt to kill him.
However, the cloak ended up protecting Prahlad and not Holika, which ultimately led to her death.
That day also saw Vishnu defeat the king and evil be overthrown by the good, thus marking Holi as a day many consider holy.
The festival for colours
The festival of colours is a central part of many people’s religious beliefs.
The Hindu deity fell for his milkmaid, but was embarrassed by his blue skin. Radha had a more even complexion.
Krishna colored Radha’s face in a playful exchange after throwing powder and water – believed to be the source of the festival’s origins.
The story of Krishna and Radha has been told over many years. People throw colours at each other to mark the occasion, and also to recall the love that bonded them.
Who doesn’t love to indulge in a tasty snack?
Celebrations are also marked by food.
These tiny dumplings, Gujiya are a sweet-deep-fried treat many love to eat.
Dahi vada is a snack made with yoghurt, fried lentil balls and originates from Karnataka, India.
Pancakes, also known as the fried fritter are made with potatoes, onions, and gram flour batter.
Holi Celebrations Around the World
It doesn’t stop there. Every year, people from all over the globe come together with their friends, families, and neighbors to brighten the streets.
Many meanings can be found in the colourful powders.
Red is associated with love and fertility; green signifies new beginnings, and yellow is the colour of happiness.
Blue is the colour of calmness. Pink is for good health. Orange is for courage. Purple is believed to bring peace and wisdom.
It is advised that people avoid using white or black powder as white is used mainly for funerals, and black is thought to be associated with negativity and dark.
That’s all there is to it about the festival of colors.