The Festival of Holi
© K. L. Kamat
The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated in most parts of India during
February-March (in the month of Phalguna according to the Hindu calendar). The
celebrations vary depending on region and local traditions but the common part
is exchange of colors.
Legends of Holi
Holika was an aunt of a boy named Prahlad, who died in the fire arguing
against her king brother Hiranyakashipu who had declared himself as God. In
her honor, an effigy of Holika is burnt in a bonfire in some parts of India.
Holi was also the day when Kama, the God of Love disturbed Lord
Shiva's meditation and was burnt down by Shiva. An effigy of Kama is burnt
in some parts of India on the day of the Holi festival.
Holi was also the name of a female demon Putana who tried to kill boy
Krishna, by giving him her poisoned nipples to suckle. The miracle boy
Krishna is said to have sucked so intensely that he drained the demon of her
life. Hence the biggest celebration of Holi takes place at Mathura.
On the day of the Holi, people (men and women) irrespective of caste and
creed mingle together and exchange colors. The celebrations can get wild and
rowdy -- it is one of the few occasions of the year that the sexes are allowed
to mix freely. People use tools and tricks to spray, paint and drown friends and
relatives in color as the accompanying picture exhibit will demonstrate.
Table of Contents
Colors of India -- Are you one of those who felt our site lacks color? While it is true that most of our content is in black and white, we bring you this delightful presentation on colors of India.