Holi is one of the four most popular festivals observed by all without any distinction of caste, creed, status or sex. It is observed on the full moon night of Phalguna. It marks the end of winter and the advent of spring season. It is a two-day festival. On the first night bone fire is lighted in the evening or night. Before being lit, it is worshiped and offered water and grains, then people go round it to perform pradikshna. Children make merry; womenfolk sing gay songs and adults also sing phag to the accompaniment of cymbal and drums. People enjoy fun and like to play practical jokes on one another.
The next day, people amuse themselves by splashing coloured water and throwing coloured water powder on their friends, relatives, neighbours and even passerby. Noisy and colorful processions are taken out through the bazaars and streets. In refined people it is characterized by songs, music, floral decoration and splashing of perfumed water. Sweets and visits are exchanged and cold drinks prepared at home, are served liberally. People forget all enmity and embrace each other, with warmth and love, and renew their friendship. New corn is baked and eaten on this day for the first time in the season.
There are several myths about the origin of the festival of Holi. According to one Puranic myth, there was a great demon Hiranyakashyap. He conquered all the three worlds and made the God, and instead declared himself God. People were made to worship him at the point of sword. But his son Prahlad, a mere child, a noble and great soul, was a a great devotee of Vishnu and always chanted his name and sang his glories. It infuriated his demon father and he odered “let this evil-soul child be killed.”
To kill Prahlad several fatal means were adopted, but none succeeded. At last a big fire was lighted and Prahlad was made to sit in her aunt Holika’s lap and she jumped into the fire. Holika claimed immunity from fire, but by the grace of God, Prahlad came out of the fire alive and unscathed but his aunt had died. The burning of Holi commemorates this event. It symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.Go To ‘Holi Festival Images’ Photo Gallery