Holi 2019: History, Importance and Significance of Colorful festival in India

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Holi 2019: History, Importance and Significance of Colorful festival in India
Holi 2019: History, Importance and Significance of Colorful festival in India

New Delhi : Are you ready with your 'pichkaaris'? Confused, don't be! We're talking about Holi, the festival of colors. Though every festival has its own charm, Holi is unique in terms of splashing vibrant hues into each other. 

It's all about throwing water baloons, colored waters into the people around and say ' bura na maano Holi hai'. Before you set yourself to play with green, pink, red, blue, yellow colors, you should know the importance of Holi and its history.

History of Holi Festival

It is believed that the origin of Holi date back to time even before the birth of Christ. It recounts the tales in mythology when Lord Vishnu had assassinated the younger brother of the demon lord, Hiranyakashipu. Apart from avenging his brother’s death, the demon king had the ulterior motive of ruling the heaven, the earth, and the underworld by defeating Vishnu. Powered by a boon granted to him, Hiranyakashipu thought he had become invincible.

On his orders, his whole state started praying him, dismissing the gods. But his son, Prahalad, maintained his deity to be none but Vishnu. Angered, the tyrant king decided to kill Prahalad with the help of Holika, Hiranyakashipu’s sister, who was immune to fire.

A pyre was lit and Holika sat on it, holding Prahalad. But Prahalad emerged out of the fire unscathed, whereas Holika burned to ashes. Hiranyakashipu, too, was eventually killed by Vishnu. Even today, the story of Holika is re-enacted by actors on Holi. Bonfires across the country are lit up to celebrate the burning away of the evil spirits.

Holi is one of the ancient festivals celebrated in India. The festival finds colour in numerous scriptures, such as in works like Jaimini's Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras with even detailed descriptions in ancient texts like the Narad Purana and Bhavishyad Purana. The festival of “holikotsav” was also mentioned in the 7th century work, Ratnavali, by King Harsha. 

Importance of Holi festival 

Holi is celebrated to mark the triumph of good over evil. Married women perform Holika puja and worship, Raka the full moon for the well-being of the families. In Bengalis, Holi termed as “Dolyatra” marks the final celebration of a Bengali year. It is also known as “Dol Purnima” and “Bashanta Utsav” in other regions. 

Women pray on this day for children, peace, prosperity and a happy home. For Holika dahan, people collect thorny bushes or pieces of dry wood and on the eve of Holi, after taking out an auspicious time, the bonfire is lit. Holi also known as spring festival forecast the future for farmers. They pray for a good harvest round the year.