Holi is one of those rare festivals where people participate irrespective of their religious inclinations. Rightly called the festival of colours and the festival of love, Holi has won hearts not only in Asia, but even in the farthest corners of Europe and the United States. Germany even went to the extent of conducting a big open-air music festival to celebrate Holi.
The word Holi has its origin from “Holika” the demonic sister of King Hiranyakashipu. The king through years of ardent devotion had earned a boon that made him immeasurably strong. This invincibility enhanced his arrogance and started demanding everyone to address him as God. But, his son Prahlad, continued with his unabated devotion to Lord Vishnu. This irritated the king to such an extent that he subjected his son to cruel punishments, but none had any effect on Prahlad since Lord Vishnu protected him each time. Finally, Holika decided to help her brother out. She tricked him into entering a huge burning pyre with her, first ensuring she was clad in a fire-proof shawl. As the story goes, she burned herself to death in the fire and Prahlad escapade unhurt. Lord Vishnu appears and kills King Hiranyakashipu. Thus Holi commemorates the victory of good over evil and the day after Holika was burned in the bonfire began to be celebrated as Holi.
Here are some interesting facts about Holi
#1. There is a slightly different version of history associated with Holi. It is said that Lord Krishna, owing to his bluish skin complexion was skeptical about whether the beautiful Radha and her gopikas will find him attractive. His mother, Rukmini, fed up of this incessant insecurity finally convinces him to approach her and cover her in any colour he likes. Lord Krishna does exactly that and since that day, Holi is commemorated as the festival of love!
#2. It marks the passing of winter and beginning of spring. But, there is a rich history behind this colorful festival.
#3. Holi is the only day Indian kids have official permission to get filthy! Indian parents are notorious for their obsession with cleanliness, especially so in the case of their children. But, come Holi, all that flies out of the window. They can drown each other in colours, use spray gun, water balloons and what-nots!
#4. For a society that bore the despicable label of untouchability for centuries, Holi was the silver lining that ascertained brotherhood and equality.
#5. In a world filled with religious fanatics, you will hardly find another religious festival celebrated universally, cutting across religious and national barriers. It is as if the colours have the power to melt away social, cultural and religious differences.
#6. Men are allowed to throw colours and drench their female counterparts in water. For a society as rigid as India, pouring water over an unknown female is unthinkable for 364 days of the year. But again, Holi isn’t just another day!
#7. It is a day to celebrate youth! You will find wild hordes of youngsters in cars and bikes roaming the streets with water guns and balloons filled with waters screening for similar groups. And once they meet, the street fight begins! And any unassuming youngster caught smack in the middle normally bears the brunt of the colorful assault!
#8. Hinduism has spread its wing all over the globe by way of its unassertive cultural values and its principle of religious tolerance and universal brotherhood. Be it Holi, Yoga or Ayurveda, you see people all over the world accepting it whole-heartedly without presumptions.
#9. Holi has become the grand ambassador that preached the ultimate principle that Hinduism try to preach- 7 billion people on different paths, all leading to one God! This is on full display on Holi when people from different countries and religions go out and celebrate this festival of love.
#10. It is a national festival celebrated across all the 28 states of India!