India – a land of diverse religions and festivals, a land of many cultures and traditions, a place where each festival has a story to tell and a reason for its celebration. Similar is the festival of Holi which is enjoyed by people of all age-groups and signifies love and celebrations throughout.
Popularly known as the Indian “Festival of Spring” – the festival signifies the arrival of spring season and end of winter. This signifies the season of the blossoming of love and a reason for many people to meet and greet their family members and friends. This festival brings merry time among the lives of people especially farmers by celebrating the beginning of a good spring harvest season.
Anciently, this was only a Hindu festival originating from India sub-continent but slowly and gradually it has spread over other areas of Asia and certain parts of the western world. Starting on the evening of Purnima – the full moon day, in the month of Phagun – spring, according to the Hindu calendar, the festival lasts for a night and a full day. Falling around the middle of March, according to the Gregorian calendar, the evening of the festival is known as Holika Dahan – burning of demon Holika, also called the Chhoti Holi. This bonfire is ideally lit to cleanse and burn away all the bad and evil things around you. Followed by a complete day of celebrations of Rangwali Holi or Dhulandi, the day signifies the “Festival of Colors” which is believed to bring the shades of joy and enjoyment in the lives of people.
The festival is already round the corner and will be celebrated from the evening of March 09, 2020, ending on March 10, 2020, in India. Truly the celebration of rebirth and new beginnings and a time to let the bad and the negative melt away. Even the rural Punjab is getting itself ready for the festival in full swing. Take a tour to Amritsar Village and witness yourself. We will cover the following topics about Holi in this piece of writing:
Said to have been celebrated just as a mode of enjoyment and bringing glory and fun in the lives of people, the festival has a great history behind it. Many factual elements combined with mythological stories make an enduring history behind this festival.
It was supposedly a ceremony of the married women to bestow well-being and prosperity on their married life and the new family. this was basically their way of showing their joy for starting up a happy married life or a life ahead. This is how the festival of colors came into being.
One of the prime themes of the festival is the triumph of good over evil. this has a root from the mythological story of Hiranyakashipu, a king who was believed to be immortal and was wanting to be worshipped as such. He was the one who was not marred by sea or land, not be hampered either by a human or any animal. Pride stricken, he was even displeased of the fact that his own son Prahalad was a devoted worshipper of Vishnu and likes Lord Vishnu over his own father. It is always said that he who has taken birth will return to ashes one day. So as the story and the blessing of Hiranyakashipu go further, Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a half-lion and half-man, made the king sit on his lap and killed him signifying the triumph of good over evil.
There is another story of love associated with the festival of colors which is the story of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha. Lord Krishna has always been depicted with a dark skin color whereas Radha has always been associated with beauty and a fairer complexion. The story goes that as a child, mischievous and playful Krishna was extremely jealous of Radha’s fair complexion. One day, Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about the injustice of nature which made Radha so fair and he so dark. To pacify the crying young Krishna, the doting mother asked him to go and color Radha’s face in whichever color he wanted. So heeded to the advice of mother Yashoda, Krishna applied color on her beloved Radha’s face; making her one like himself. This beautiful scene has been made alive by many painters and artists through their murals and paintings. Thus this prank became really popular and later on emerged as a full-fledged festival.
As the main attraction of the festival is a color-filled celebration and is purely about having fun within the community by taking to the streets or attending private celebrations to throw colors at each other. There are some patent colors of the festival that are symbolic of different moods and situations. Like, the blue color is associated with Lord Krishna because of his blue skin color. Green is symbolic of rebirth and a new beginning and new hopes. Red is the color of marriage and symbolizes maternity and happiness. Then comes the color Yellow which is typically regarded as the color of turmeric – Haldi which is considered lucky.
Emerged primarily from the Hindu religion, the festival of Holi is now celebrated in the entire world due to the enthusiasm and care-free approach related to this. Aiming at spending some quality time with loved ones, family and friends among the boredom of season, a festival which is devoid of any such long rituals and involves only fun and frolic is the Festival of Holi.
Throughout India, Holi is celebrated differently depending on the region. In some parts of India, the celebrations include singing and dancing like in the West Bengal. Rajasthan celebrates the festival with a different approach. Jaipur, Udaipur, and Pushkar, etc are considered high on tourism scale. So the Holi here is always inclusive of foreign travelers. And the World famous places like Mathura and Vrindavan which is regarded as the ultimate abode of Lord Krishna is immersed in the shades of the festival in the most enthusiastic way. They sing, dance, play with colors and flower petals and enjoy Holi with their beloved deity Lord Krishna.
Talking about celebrating the festival in our Golden City i.e. Amritsar, the enjoyment of people of all age-group is worth watching. Be it private parties, get-together or playing Holi at home or on roads, you will find people immersed in the colors of the festival and indulging themselves into some sweet and savory delights of the city. Being a city of Golden Temple, people also believe in celebrating the festival in various temples and Gurdwaras in the same way by playing with colors, flowers and singing and dancing. Kids are seen playing with water balloons and water-guns. The city markets are visibly immersed with the food and material of the festival.
Since we believe that our world-travelers would be more interested to know about the festival and celebrate it in our Indian style, so we have curated a Special Holi Tour 2020 which is an amalgamation of Amritsar Village Tour and Wagah Border Tour, wherein you will not only enjoy the festival with the locals of the city but also with the guards of our country, who leave everything behind and save us from all the adversities.
Come enjoy the festival. After all, “Holi is a special time of year to remember those who are close to our hearts with splashing colors”.