How Holi is Celebrated in India
People celebrate Holi to show their devotion to Lord Krishna who used to be a prankster, throwing colours and water on village girls. Holi also denotes the commencement of spring and the end of winter. Furthermore, the festival signifies thanksgiving for the season’s abundant harvest. The celebrations of Holi are seen more in places like Mathura or Vrindavan. They are in Uttar Pradesh, the state where Krishna grew up. In those places, Holi starts a week earlier.
Holi is the most colourful and popular Hindu festival, celebrated with zest and joy all over India. It usually falls on the full moon day in the Phalguna month, though the date of the festival varies in different regions in India. The festival is a metaphor for the triumph of good over evil and has many legends linked to it, such as the demoness Holika’s story. Holika met her end because of Prahlad’s prayers to Lord Vishnu, the revered Hindu God.
How Do We Celebrate Holi in India?
Holi celebrations are very colourful and full of fun and excitement in rural and urban areas of India.
These are the typical ways in which we celebrate the grand festival:
- Playing with Colors: People play with colours or water balloons during Holi. Kids and even grown-ups use water guns to spray water on other people as celebrations. People hide in building roof-tops and throw coloured water pouches on passersby in the streets below. It is very exciting to watch and gives an excellent chance for friends and relatives to mingle with each other freely. The colours also denote different meanings. Green stands for reincarnation and new beginnings, and blue implies Lord Krishna who has blue skin. Similarly, yellow is for auspicious events, and red symbolizes marriage or fertility.
- Bonfires: As per the legend of Holika and Prahlad, on Holika’s demise, people lit large bonfires to mark the victory of good over evil. Known as Holika Dahan, this activity is observed on a night before Holi in North India and people believe that the bonfire drives away evil forces. They do a special puja and circle the bonfire three to seven times. People participate in these bonfires with great excitement.
- Paying reverence to Radha: As per Hindu mythology, Radha is Lord Krishna’s lover and a Hindu Goddess. People show affection to Radha by playing Holi songs and enacting dramas in front of her idol. This is most common in places like Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana where there are a lot of devotees of Krishna and Radha.
- Bhang: Some people consume a paste made from cannabis plants called bhang as part of the festivities.
- Sweets and festive meals: In many parts of India after the celebrations, people come together to eat special meals. They share sweets and other delicacies with neighbours, friends, and relatives.
What to Do During Holi in India?
Holi is a festival celebrated in a carefree manner and is great fun if you do not mind getting soaked in water or smeared with coolers all over. People today are more conscious of environmental issues and are realizing the effect of chemicals on the skin. They are opting to play Holi in an eco-friendly manner, using less water and using organic instead of chemical colours.
Tips for Celebrating Holi
Here are some tips that will come in handy while celebrating Holi:
- It would be good to first understand the significance of the festival and the rituals. Know the traditional reasons why we celebrate the festival in such a manner.
- It would be advisable to cover your skin with oil as it is safer to have a protective layer for your skin. It would also enable you to wash off the colour easily.
- Since you will be full of colours, wear clothes that you can dispose of as it is much better than washing off the colours.
- Use natural colours available at your homes like sandal, turmeric, or henna. They are harmless and washable to smear on friends and relatives.
- You can use materials like coconut waste or dry cow dung instead of wood to light bonfires.
- This is an excellent time to get together with friends and relatives. Prepare a variety of tasty snacks and sweets and invite friends over to your house to celebrate.
Holi, a public holiday, is the festival of colours and is a wonderful opportunity to bond with friends and relatives. It is a perfect opportunity to reunite with all those with whom you have had resentment, miscommunications and anger. Let it go and make love this festive. It is a festival where people of all ages, religions, or castes come together to participate that offers plenty of fun and excitement.