History of Holi

Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the “festival of colors” or the “festival of love”. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.  It lasts for two days starting on the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar month of Phalgun, which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. The first day is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the second as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan.

Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colors.

What is the Holi festival and why is it celebrated by throwing colored powder?
Holi, a traditional Hindu festival, celebrates the beginning of spring as well as the triumph of good over evil. It is best known around the world for the powder that revelers throw on each other, leaving festival goers coated in color by the end of the day.

Although the festival originated in India and is still widely celebrated there as a religious festival, it has been adopted in many places around the world.

On Monday – the day this year’s festivities kick off, Google has marked Holi with a special Doodle.


What is the story behind Holi?

Holi’s different celebrations come from various Hindu legends. One story tells the story of how the god Vishnu saved his follower Prahlada from a pyre while Prahlada’s evil aunt Holika burned.

The night before the Holi festival a Holika bonfire is burned to celebrate the victory of good over evil.

The Holika bonfire in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh CREDIT: BARCROFT IMAGES
The colored powder – or gulal – thrown during the festival come from the legend of Krishna, whose skin was dark blue. Worried he wouldn’t be accepted by his love Radha, he mischievously colored her face to make her like himself.

Today, anyone at Holi is fair game to be covered in the perfumed powder as a celebration of Krishna and Radha’s love, regardless of age or social status. The powder also signifies the coming of spring and all the new colors it brings to nature.

What is the colored powder and what does it mean?

Historically, the gulal was made of turmeric, paste and flower extracts, but today synthetic versions are largely used. The four main powder colors are used to represent different things. Red reflects love and fertility, blue is the color of Krishna, yellow is the color of turmeric and green symbolizes spring and new beginnings. Google’s Doodle shows the search engine’s logo being covered in powder, and on the Google iOS and Android app, you can spray the logo with different colors.

How is it celebrated today?

While Holi is an ancient festival in India and Nepal, it is celebrated in many parts of the world today. Hindu communities in many countries, as well as non-Hindus, join in. In London, there is a music festival on July 29 – more than four months after the actual Holi festival. Holi was shown in the video for Coldplay’s Hymn for the Weekend in 2016.

Western versions of Holi have been criticized for cultural appropriation, essentially becoming raves that take the little inspiration from the Hindu festival beyond its use of colored powder.

Article was written by The Telegraph and information are taken from Wikipedia

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