Holi is one of the spring festivals celebrated in India. It is celebrated on the Eve of Phalgun Poornima, where people light Bon Fires, which are decorated with Dry Leaves, Flowers, and Coconuts and is adorned by beautiful Rangoli Designs. Holi is celebrated mainly in the Indian States of Goa, Maharashtra, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Tamil Nadu. Apart from Indian States it is also celebrated in other Indian Diaspora such as Nepal, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Fiji, Mauritius, United States, Indonesia, Pakistan.
The two day festival is celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm across the Country. It is a day to rectify our relationships and to forget and forgive people around us.The story of Lord Vishnu and Bhakt Prahlad is the most famous story related to Holi.King Hiranyakashipu, was the king of demonic Asuras, who had earned a boon. The boon gave him 5 special powers, which were,
- He could neither be killed by a human being nor an animal,
- Neither Indoors or Outdoors,
- Neither at day or Night,
- Neither on Land nor Water nor in Air,
- Neither by Astra nor Shastra.
The King was very arrogant and thought that the people should only worship him as God. However, his own son worshipped Lord Vishnu. This angered him and he found different ways to punish Bhakt Prahlad. Finally Hiranyakashipu’s sister Holika suggested that she would keep Prahlad on her lap and sit in the pyre. While doing so, Holika would be wearing a Clock, which made her immune to fire. As the Fire increased the Cloak flew from Holika onto Prahlad, who survived this incident.
Lord Vishnu appeared as
- Narasimha i.e.half human and half Lion (Neither Human Being nor Animal)
- Took Hiranyakashipu at the Doorstep (which is neither Indoors nor Outdoors)
- At Dusk (when it was neither day nor night)
- Placed him on his Lap (Which was neither Land, Water nor Air)
- And then killed the King using his Lion Claws, which were neither Astra nor Shastra.
The story may be centuries old but the story gives us many lessons, which can be implemented even today.
- Do not be proud and consider yourself as Almighty Power. There is Almighty, who will end your pride.
- Respect every Human Being and their choices.
- Even if you feel there is no solution to a problem always read between the lines. The circumstances under which one could kill Hiranyakashipu seemed impossible, yet Lord Vishnu found a solution to the same. If you are determined to find a solution to a problem, then you will definitely find an unconventional solution to the same.
- The Good always wins over the evil.
Generally in India, on the Eve of Holi, the pyre is lit signifying Holika Dahan. This is a symbol of the victory of Good over the Evil.
In Assam, on the eve of Holi people burn clay huts, whereas in Bihar, people light bonfires, wherein they put dried cow dung cakes, wood of Araad or Redi tree and Holika Tree, grains from fresh Harvest and unwanted wood leaves in the bonfire. In Gujarat on the previous day people offer raw coconut and corn to the fire, whereas in Maharashtra, every household brings a meal and dessert in honour of fire God. Puran Poli is the main delicacy that is made specially for this day.
In West Bengal, Holi is celebrated as Dol Jatra. The place the Idols of Krishna and Radha on a Palanquin, which is then taken around the main streets of the city or village.
Thus in different states of the Country, different communities celebrate this festival with great pomp and enthusiasm.