The date for Holi in the year 2018 is March 1. Holi is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. It is the festival of joy and colors. Holi is marked by the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is one of those times when the social barriers lose their strength and fun flows in the air. Holi has a deep connection with Hindu way of living. There are a number of legends that are associated with this Indian festival. It is also known as Phagwah , Dolajatra , Dol Jatra or Basantotsav . Holi is of particular significance in the Braj region and the locations traditionally connected to the Lord Krishna.
Significance of Holi
Holi is an ancient festival of India that was originally named as Holika . It finds interviews in Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa Sutras and Kathak Grhya Sutras as well as Narad Purana and Bhavishya Purana . It is believed that the great king of demons HiranyaKashyap had a boon of immortality and his son Prahlada was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Prahlada , in spite of his father’s denial, continued worshiping Vishnu and finally his father decided to kill him. Prahlada was given poison but that turned into nectar in his mouth. He was trampled by elephants but even that did not affect him. When all of Huranyakashyap’s efforts to kill his son failed, he asked his sister Holika to put him on fire. She was blessed not to be affected by fire but when the fire started, she was burnt to death while Prahlada remained unaffected. This incidence is celebrated as Holika Dahan .
Holi has a definite influence on the cultures of the past as well as the modern culture. Holi is celebrated in not only India but also a number of other countries like Nepal, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago etc .. Along with that, color festivals are celebrated in the United States and some European countries with other names and occasions. A number of contemporary plays, movies, TV serials have mentions of Holi for different reasons.
Every part of India celebrates Holi in its own way. These traditions vary from one state to another. Holi has a deep association with the children of Lord Krishna and that is the reason why there is so much charm of Holi in the Mathura and Vrindavan region. In the most traditional way, Holi is celebrated by Holika Dahan in the night and the game of colors in the morning. It is the most enjoyable tradition of Holi. Together, the rich and the poor, men and women enjoy throwing colors on each other. The atmosphere is filled with joy and fun.
In Maharashtra and Gujarat, pots of buttermilk are hung high in the streets. Group of men form a human pyramid to break the pot with the head while the women throw buckets of water in an effort to stop them. This tradition comes from the tales of Lord Krishna who was quite fond of butter milk. Similarly, at place called Barsana , women beat their men and dress them in female attire on the day of Holi. In Bengal, it is celebrated in the most dignified way. Here, idols of Radha and Krishna are taken out in a procession. It is also celebrated as the spring festival here. Students decorate their campuses with decorative flowers and rangolis . In Punjab, it is celebrated as the display of physical strength and prowess while in Manipur , it is celebrated for six continuous days with dances and colors. What is important here is the spirit of Holi, that remains same throughout. It is the festival that brings people closer and this is what matters the most.
There are certain issues that are related with this great festival. Environmental pollution and use of synthetic colors being the top most of them. There is a concern about water pollution due to synthetic colors during Holi along with the environmental issue related to the traditional Holika Dahan which leads to deforestation. Chemically produced industrial dyes have taken thd place of natural colors which were traditionally made of turmeric, sandalwood, extract of flowers and leaves. Lack of control over the quality and content is the culprit of this problem. There are plenty of toxic substances like lead oxide and copper sulfate which are widely being used for the making of these colors. Some social organizations like the Society for Child Development are running awareness programs on these issues.