In India, Holi is the festival of color. It is a festival in which people splash water balloons at each other and smears beautiful colors of each other’s face.

There are various stories and legends which lie behind the celebration of Holi. All these legends deliver important messages to the general crowd.

The legend of Radha-Krishna is yet another story which brings out the essence of love and passion and reflects the reason why Holi is also called the festival of love.

  • The legend

Lord Krishna as a young boy was extremely mischievous and always managed to pull out pranks on innocent people. As the story goes, young Krishna being dark skinned was envious of his playmate turned lover, Radha’s fair complexion.

There is a legend behind Krishna’s dark complexion as well. Once when he was just a child, a malicious demon tried to kill baby Krishna by adding poison to the milk he was going to drink. However, Krishna being the avatar of Lord Vishnu did not die but turned blue due to the ill effects of the poison and that demon was reduced to ashes.

So one fine day, unable to find any legitimate reason behind this nature’s injustice, Krishna started complaining and whining about his dark complexion to his foster mother, Yashoda. In order to soothe and pacify her child’s troubled mind, Yashoda, in a playful manner suggested young Krishna to smear some color on Radha’s face so that he would be on equal terms as Radha would no longer be fair.

Being just a child, Krishna was highly satisfied with his mother’s mischievous idea. He sneaked up on Radha from behind and applied color on her face. This mesmerizing scene of young Krishna smearing color on little Radha’s face is depicted in various murals and pictures. Moreover it is considered to be the root of Holi festival.

  • The celebration

This prank of young Krishna in which he smeared colors on Radha and her playmates faces and splashed water colors at them with “pichkaris” became so popular that it became a tradition and was passed down from one generation to another and ended up being a major festival.

Even today beautiful and exotic powdered colors called “gulal”, water balloons and water jets are used by people while playing Holi. Being the festival of love and desire along with festival of color, the lovers are seen applying colors on each other’s faces as the colors are also symbolic of the colors of love and it idolized the two great lovers, Radha and Krishna.

This scene is made alive every year all over India, especially in the historical regions related to Radha and Krishna like Vrindavan, Mathura, Nandgaon and Barsana. The entire country gets colored in the beautiful and breathtaking colors of Holi and celebrates the undying love of Radha and Krishna.

In various cities it is a custom to place the idols of the two lovers on a decorated platform after which it is carried around the city in a procession with dancing, singing and throwing colors in air. Holi is also the time to forgive and forget so all the people, forgetting their differences, come along and plays Holi.