Why Is Holi Celebrated: The Origin, Story And Mythology Behind It?

The Spring Festival ‘Holi’ is celebrated by the Hindu community staying all over the world. The festival is so fun loving and attractive that all are bent towards its attractive and vibrant colors. It has taken the shape more of a community sport where irrespective of caste or creed, religion or sect, people of all ages Join in a group having the fun of smearing, throwing and splashing colors on each other.

Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima at the end of the winter season on the last Full Moon day of the Lunar month Phalguna-February / March. This year, it is celebrated on March 2nd.

Holi is named in various ways by different communities of India. There are also many themes behind celebrating this festival. But, whatever may be the name or theme, the unique feature of this festival is smearing, throwing and splashing colors on each other. Everyone looks alike smeared in these colors, their hearts and souls conveying the message of universal brotherhood and equality. Let this Holi mark the year’s most joyful event in your life bringing happiness and fortune in vibrant rainbow colors.

Origin of Holi

Hindu Mythology

The Story of Hiranyakashipu and Prahlada

According to Vaishnava Theology, there lived a great king of demons called Hiranyakashipu. Through his long penance, he won the heart of Lord Brahma. He had been gifted with a boon which made it almost impossible for him to be killed. He had been granted with a boon that he would not be killed during day or night, either by astra (weapon) nor by shastra (philosophy or cult), inside the home or outside, though by a man nor by an animal, not on earth or on sky. He started demanding that people and gods start worshiping him. He started attacking the Earth and the Heaven.

Hiranya kashipu had a son. His name was Prahlada. Prahlada was a devote of Lord Vishnu. His father, Hiranyakashipu had warned him several times so as not to worship Lord Vishnu but he never obeyed him. So, Hiranya kashipu finally decided to kill his son, Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu’s attempts to kill Prahlada failed. At last he decided to make his son sit on his sister’s lap on a pyre which was set on fire. Hiranyakashipu’s sister Holika, the demoness had a boon which would prevent her from burning. When the pyre started burning, Prahlada came out unharmed whio Holika was burnt to ashes.

The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi. Later, Lord Vishnu came in the form of Narasimha, (who is half man and half lion); held Hiranyakashipu on the steps of the porch of his house which was neither inside the house nor outside, and killed him at the dusk ,, which was either day nor night. Narasimha took Prahlada on his lap which is either on the earth nor in the sky, and tore him with his claws which are either astra nor shastra.

Legend of Krishna-Radha Love

In memory of Lord Krishna and Radha’s love, Holi is celebrated for sixteen days in Vrindavan and Mathura, where Lord Krishna grows up. This celebration concludes on Rangpanchami. It happened once that Lord Krishna complained his mother about the contrast between his dark skin complexion and Radha’s fair skin complexion. On doing so Repeatedly, Krishna’s mother decided to apply color to Radha’s face. When it was done, it was liked by Krishna and all his friends. Since then, Lord Krishna, along with his friends, popularized this festival smearing colors on the gopis and Radha. As this incident took place during spring season, since then Holi is being celebrated during spring, the celebrated season of love.

The Story of Kamadeva

Lord Shiva was in deep meditation in order to get Goddess Parvati as his wife. The God of love, KamaDeva, shot his weapon at Lord Shiva in order to get Parvati as his wife. The God of love, Kamadeva, shot his weapon at lord Shiva in order to break his meditation. Lord Shiva opened his third eye and gazed at Kama Deva. KamaDeva’s body was destroyed to ashes as Lord Shiva’s gaze was so powerful. Rati, wife of Lord KamaDeva, pleaded Lord Shiva to send her husband back to her. For her sake, God KamaDeva’s body was restored only as a mental image. The Holi bonfire is celebrated in the memory of this incident.

Holi: The Harvest Festival

Holi is celebrated with tremendous zest and zeal in Northern India as the summer harvest festival. Holi is prominent in Kashmir as the harvesting of the summer crop. Holi is a very big festival here. People celebrate this harvest festival by throwing colored water and powder.They sing and dance thank God for helping them with the bountiful harvest. So, Holi is a harvest festival celebrated with colors and sweets.

Science and Holi

Impact of Colors and Herbs

Spring is the transition period during which the weather changes. It is the end of the winter season and advent of the summer. Bacteria, virus and other harmful germs get triggered causing harmful diseases spreading harmful germs causing contagious diseases like viral fever, cold, measles, chicken pox cholera, etc.In olden times, when medical science had not yet graphed its strong roots in India, people mostly depended on Ayurveda and medicinal herbs. The natural epidemics would swipe away the population in thousands causing death.

So, as a preventive measure, people naturally colored colored powders playfully which had medicinal significance. Colors are very important for human nobody and skin. These colors were traditionally made with Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilwa and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors.

When these colored powders and liquids were smeared and splashed, they helped in inoculating and killing the germs from the houses, surrounds as well as the human body. These colors were also used in spraying over the fields to protect the crops from the pests and diseases and in order to store the grains in healthy granaries. In course of time, this practice culminated into a fanfare sport and took the shape of Holi -the colorful festival.

Impact of Special Holi Drink-Thandai:

People prepare a special drink on Holi called Thandai. This drink is prepared with milk, almonds, pistachios, rose petals, sugar cane juice and medicinal herbs. This drink helps in rejuvenating the human body and boosts up the energy level.This drink is medicinal in nature.

Impact of Holi Bonfire-Holika Dahan or Kama Dahanam:

The day before Holi, bonfires are lit, also known as Holika Dahan or Kama Dahanam. According to the Hindu ritual, people sing and dance around the bonfire. While taking parikrama or moving round the bonfire, the temperature of the burning bonfire helps in killing the micro-organisms and destroying the germs from our body and the surroundings. In this way, the bonfire helps in eradicating the disease causing germs, bacteria and viruses and keeps the man safe safe from harmful diseases.

The freshly harvested sheaves of green gram and wheat are roasted in the bonfire and ateen. This is a healthy food during spring season. This helps in stimulating the body and energizes its metabolism.

This year while celebrating Holi, inhyderabadmall is very happy to share the happiest moments with you all. Its Holi store is rich in its versatile collection of special Holi sarees, special Holi gifts, Holi colors, Holi pumps, Holi sweets, Holi cakes and Holi flowers.

Source by Sarah Jo