Saturday, April 27, 2013


AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE The rituals associated with Holi are just as colourful as the festival itself. We call Holi the festival of colours, fun and frolic. Some of the main Holi rituals and their significance. Gathering wood and leaves. For a week before Holi, the children are given the task of gathering stray pieces of wood and dry leaves. These titbits are heaped in huge piles at crossroads or in the middle of parks, and they are burned the day/night before Holi in a symbolic fire to destroy evil. Holika Dahan. The folklore says that Prahlad was the prince of a demon kingdom and an ardent follower of Narayana. But Prahlad's father, King Hiranyakashyap hated Narayana and to kill Prahlad, the King asked his sister Holika to sit on a fire with little Prahlad in her lap.
Holika had a boon that fire will not burn her. She stepped into the ritual fire, got burned and Prahlad came out unharmed. To symbolise the victory of good over evil, some communities make an effigy of Holika and place her in a house made of inflammable substances.

Radha and Krishna Puja. The playful couple Radha and Krishna are worshipped on the day of Holi. They are first bathed in milk and then smeared with Holi colours. It is believed that Krishna who was dark skinned was jealous of Radha's fair complexion. He had smeared her with blue colour to get back at Radha for being so fair. Play Of Colours. The play of colours on Holi is a symbol of celebration. The colours signify all the aspects of nature. Lath Mar or Play of Sticks. The legend goes that the ever playful Krishna visited Radha's village Barsana on Holi. True to his nature he eve teased Radha and her female friends (Gopi). But the girls were angered by Krishna's constant teasing and chased him away with sticks. To continue the tradition women beat up men with sticks on the day Holi.
Bhang and Thandai. Bhang or a particular combination of the intoxicating poppy seeds is a Holi ritual. The bhang is mixed with thandai (which is a milk and dry fruits sherbet). This drink adds up to the element of intoxicating fun on Holi. Kamdeva Puja. Down South, playing Holi with colours is not very popular. In Southern India, Holi is a day to worship Kamdeva, the God of Love.

In Hinduism, there are many popular Holi rituals and these customs and traditions have deep significance. Anwesha, author of the article, explains that most of the Holi rituals are based on two main points: the Holika Dahan and the Play of Colours. “But having fun is the underlying principle in each of the Holi rituals and the numerous colours used during the celebrations represent the different elements that God has given us in form of Mother nature,” she adds. Unlike other Hindu festivals, it does not include a sombre puja ceremony or no fasting is required. Holi is the festival of colors and the celebration signifies the joy and mirth of the Hindu community.

Holi is a major festival and celebrates the onset of spring, along with good harvests and the fertility of the land. It is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March. This festival is known best for the way people throw brightly colored powder and water over each other to celebrate the advent of spring. Then they bathe and cleanse themselves after which they distribute sweets amongst friends and relatives. Vibrant processions accompanied by folk songs and dances are also a characteristic of Holi celebrations. Holi is a very popular festival amongst the youth. Holi also commemorates the burning to death of Holika, the aunt of Prahlada. Huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi for this reason. Holi is celebrated with great vigor in the north, but is hardly celebrated in southern India.

Dr Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Hindu Festivals”

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"


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