India has always been known as the country which is inherently articulate in its expressions and which celebrates all its festivals with a grandeur. It is also one of the most colourful and brightest places on the face of earth. And Holi depicts all these features to its minutest detail.
“Bura na mano Holi hai”. This particular saying would not seem alien to anyone who celebrates Holi. The festival is known as a relationship mender or an ice breaker for all introverts and is a celebration of the child present in every individual.
Holi which began as a festival from the banks of Ganga took various forms along its way and has now managed to reach the streets of Spain in the form of the famous Tomatino festival. Holi is celebrated in Bangladesh, where even though the number of Muslims is high, everyone celebrates it. Holi is celebrated in Nepal, Australia, Canada, South-Africa to name a few.
Holi is celebrated on the last full moon night of the Phalgun month (a month in the Hindu calendar), it generally comes either in late February or in early March.
This year we will celebrate Holi on 13th March and start its preparation from the night of 12th March.
The transition between the winter to summer season, brings a wave of laziness among everyone. Holi acts as a booster of energy for everyone. The rhythm of the music and sound of laughter is very tempting, which forces people to leaves their house and enjoy with others.
It is also a time of celebration for the farmers, as after Holi the harvesting season begins. During Holi, the fields bloom with the ripe crops and the season of mangoes begin.
Throwing water on people not only a form of enjoyment and prank, but it also refreshes everyone and re-energizes them to play for more hours. Colors have a huge role in holi as it helps in brightening up every mood and brings a vibrant change of color in our lives.
Playing with colors or gulal is not without its scientific reason. The deficiency of colors in body acts as a medicine which comes in the disguise of Holi. These natural colors help in strengthening the ions present in the body and also bring a new glow on the faces.
Holi is probably the only festival in India which which does not have a huge mythological reason behind its celebration.
‘Holika Dahan’, which takes place on the night before the Dhulandi has a famous story behind it. Hiranyakahsyak, an atheist king, wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship him. When his son, Prahlad; a worshipper of Lord Vishnu, disobeyed him, he tried various techniques to either convert his belief or to kill him. Holika, Hiranyakahsyak's sister, had a boon that fire would not touch her, so she took Prahlad and sat with him on her lap in fire. His complete devotion in Lord, saved him from the vicious flames of fire and Holika was burned to death. This increased the faith among people that good will always have a victory over evil and so Holika Dahan became an important part in the celebration of Holi.
Another legend is that of Krishna and Radha. Young Krishna would throw colors over the Gopis and Radha, who would always make fun of his dark color. This prank became a way of enjoyment and Holi became the festival of colors.
The celebration of Holi begins a night before, when a bonfire is lit in every corner and street. This ritual is called ‘Holika Dahan’. It helps in removing the negatives energy from the life of people. It is said that, basking in the heat of the Holika flames, makes you immune from many serious ailments and illness throughout the year. The second day is covered with the extravaganza of multi-colored atmosphere.
There are unique ways of playing Holi. Rather than playing only with colors and flowers, the women folk also bring lathis while playing Holi. They hit the men folk with it; probably the only time that they are allowed to hit men publically. This bizarre form of Holi is called the “Lathmaar Holi”. This vision is only visible in the streets of Mathura during holi.
Holi is called ‘Rang-panchami’ in Maharashtra. In Bengal it is called as “Basant Utsav”. They celebrate it by welcoming the arrival of the spring and do it by chanting hymns in the serene environment of Shantiniketan.
“Hola Mohalla” is celebrated on a day after Holi by the Sikh community in Punjab. Langar or free community lunch/dinner is organized during this day and they all celebrate it by exhibiting martial arts and by engaging themselves in small playful fights.
Drinking bhang is one the most important customs followed on this day. Even though now-a-days it is form of letting loose and enjoying the day, the earlier notion was to help their bodies in digesting the heavy food that they had consumed throughout the winter season.
Listening to music and dancing on the streets with colors in hands and faces, is the main motto on this day. It is the best to socialise and meet new people. During evenings, people visit their relatives and friends. They exchange sweets and gifts, that are specially made for this festival and end their day on a joyous note.
MANTRAS & PRAYERS:
“Aing Hreeng Aing Kleeng Kleeng Hum Hum Kreeng Kreeng Phat”
“ऐंग ह्रींग अंग क्लींग क्लींग हम हम क्रींग क्रींग पहात”
“Naasai roga harai saba piraa; japat nirantara hanumat veera.”
“नासै रोग हरै सब पीरा | जपत निरंतर हनुमत बीरा ||"
“Om Har Har Tripurhar Bhawani Bala”
“ॐ हर हर त्रिपुरहर भवानी बल”
“Om Namah Kamaye Sawajan Priyaye
Sarvajan Sammohaye Jawal Jawal Prajawwal Prajawalye Sarva Janasya Hriday Mam Vansh Kuru Kuru Swaha”
“ॐ नमः कमाए स्वजन प्रियायै सर्वजन सम्मोहायै जवळ जवळ प्रजव्वल प्रजवलए सर्व जनस्य ह्रदय मम वंश कुरु कुरु स्वः”