Holi - The festival of colors

Holi – The Festival of Colours

Image Credit: Flickr User rudresh_calls, via CC

Aha! It’s spring time and Holi, the festival of colors is back again. The most fun thing is that everyone gets covered in layers of colors and looks like a clown!  But on this day, no body minds being one. Ha! Its the day of fun and celebration.

Have you stocked up the colors yet? The special dry color that is used on Holi is Gulal. Which color of the gulal do you like the best – pink, yellow, green or red. I like red. It is just so bright. And are you ready with your pichkaris(water guns) and water balloons. What fun! Isn’t it?

Have you ever wondered why do we celebrate Holi? Like every other festival, even the festival of holi has a legend behind it. A very interesting one. Want to know about it?

Once there lived an evil and cruel king named Hiranayakashyap. Let me tell you how Hiranayakashyap became evil. Hiranyakashyap was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, the creator of the universe. Once upon a time, he prayed to him with his hands folded above his head and standing on one leg. He chanted innumerable mantras to please the God. Days passed, it got hot around him, and mountains of anthills surrounded him but he did not stop praying.

Finally, God appeared before him and asked, “What do you wish for king? I’m so pleased with you that anything you ask for I will make it come true.”

Hiranayakashyap was mighty pleased and exclaimed, “Make me immortal Lord. Give me the boon to never die.”

God was perplexed and said, “I cant make this wish of yours come true, everyone has to die. If people don’t die then earth will be overcrowded with people.”

Hiranyakashyap said, ” Then give me a boon where I can not be killed during day or night; by human or a beast; I shouldn’t die outside or inside. I shouldn’t die above or on the ground.”

“This wish of yours will be true!”, said God

Hiranyakashyap had a kind son, Prahlad. Prahlad wasn’t even remotely like his father. Prahlad always used to pray to lord Vishnu. Hiranayakashyap disliked his own son. So much so, that he told prahlad to jump from a high mountain. But nothing happened to Prahlad. Then he asked Prahlad to jump into a well but nothing happened again. He tied his and legs with rope aand ordered his guards to get an elephant to walk over him. Not even a scratch again! And on an on this went, over and over again and again. Hiranayakashyap was furious. He told his sister, Holika who was granted a boon by the Gods that the fire will not burn her,  to sit on fire with Prahlad on her lap. Holika did as her brother  said. She sat on the pyre with Prahlad on her lap. But then a miracle happened! Prahlad was still unscthed where as Holika got burnt.

That’s why we celebrate Holi each year by making a bonfire to burn all the evil around us, splash colours on each other and eat lots of yummy gujjiyas (indian sweet especially made on Holi).

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