Holi (Photo Credit: Twitter)
The festival of Holi is the nature's way of telling, 'Lets party'. The practice of smearing your loved ones ushers in a carnivalesque mood among people. While the main festival of colours is officially due in a couple of days, a lot of people in the country have already started indulging in merrymaking. Holi signifies the victory of good over evil. The festival is also celebrated as thanksgiving for good harvest.
Legend behind Holi Different regions have a different version of Holi and its importance. The festival that celebrates the love of Radha and Krishna also has a triumph of good over evil story linked to it. The legend of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad is often narrated to kids during the eve of Holi when Vishnu appeared in the Narasimha avatar to put an end to the prudish, arrogant king. Folklore has it that Hiranyakashyap grew so powerful during his reign that he asked his subjects to worship him as God instead of Vishnu. However, his own son Prahalad rebelled and refused to call him God. This infuriated the kind who asked his sister to kill his son.
Finally, Holika, the king's sister, tricked Prahlad into sitting on a holy pyre with her plotting to kill him by fire and save her with a magic cloak. As the fire blazed, with Vishnu’s blessing’s the cloak flew from Holika's body and encased Prahlada, his disciple thus saving his life and killing the king’ sister. The very story gave birth to the practice of Holika Dahan where people arrange a bonfire before Holi and bring an end to all things evil or the negative energy around.
Holi also celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna and their immense love for each other. Folklore has it that Krishna would often complain his mother about the discrimination in skin colours to which his mother would come to a solution that he should smear her with dark colours. This prank of Krishna later, became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities.
Reports suggest archeologists had access to 300 BC stone at Ramgarh which points towards people of the times celebrating 'Holikotsav', meaning the celebration of Holi inscribed on it.
All these legends have a cultural significance as it remind people that God always help his disciples and help them during troubled times. The festival also direct the people to follow good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful. This is extremely important in the modern day society where people casually take recourse to foul practices and shun honesty and humbleness. Holi helps the people to believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and also to fight away the evil.