Holi is also known as the festival of colors is basically the Hindu spring festival taking place in India and Nepal. It begins on the ‘Purnima’ or full moon day of the ‘Falgun’ month according to the Bikram Sambat Hindu Calendar and continues for two days.
According to the Gregorian calendar, this is somewhat between the end of February and the middle of March.
Popularly, the first day is called by the names Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi while the following day is known as Rangwali Holi or Dhulandi.
This is an annual cultural festival that has a lot of significations like the victory of good over evil or the end of winter and onset of spring or as a thanksgiving due to a good harvest or just simply a festival to laugh, play, enjoy and meet near and dear ones in hues of bright colors. The 2019 date for this festival is 13th of March.
The legends of this festival consist of multiple shades of colors just like the festival itself. There are conflicting as well merging shades and tones that range from subtle ones associated with love and devotion to the darker shades for the demons and devilish happenings. An interesting aspect of these legends is that millions of Hindus all over the world have staunch beliefs on the viability of these legends and happen to believe that these come to life every year during the Holi festival. There’s a strong belief of the people that at the end, good will always win over evil and this allows them to celebrate the Holi traditions every year with complete devotion. Some of the most popular legends are:
- Legend Of Holika And Prahlad:
This legend is about the egoistic demon king Hiranyakashyap who became the king of earth and wanted everybody to bow down to him including his son Prahlad who was a devotee of Lord Narayana and worshipped only him. Due to this reason, he tried killing Prahlad many times but each time Vishnu saved him. On the last and final time, he asked his sister Holika to enter a burning fire with Prahlad on her lap because Holika had received a boon that fire could not harm her but she didn’t know this happened only when she was alone. Prahlad’s ultimate devotion made him come unscarred from the fire but Holika lost her life. That’s how Holi came to be known as Holika Dahan and victory of good over evil is believed since that day.
- Legend Of Radha Krishna:
According to this legend, one Krishna complained to his mother as to why was he so dark while Radha was so fair. To make him calm down, his mother jokingly told him to go and apply color to Radha’s face in order to make her like him. Krishna actually went and did that while the ‘gopiyas’ used water jets. This activity became so popular that it evolved into a full-fledged festival.
- Legend Of Kaamadeva:
It’s said that Lord Shiva on this particular day reduced Kaamadeva, the God of love and passion to ashes as he had shot his arrow on Lord Shiva while he was meditating. He was instructed by the Gods to do this to bring Shiva to his original self and make him unite with Parvati. As Kaamadeva has pure intentions, his wife had pleaded to Shiva who revived Kaamadeva and ended everything on a happy note. Down in south India, people pray to Kaamadeva on the Holi day to commemorate his great sacrifice. Thus, in Tamil Nadu, Holi is also known as Kama-Dahanam.
- Legend Of Dhundhi:
Dhundhi was an ogress who lived in the kingdom of Prithu and used to be a nuisance especially troubling little children. Due the boon he got from Shiva that nothing could harm or kill him, he became invincible. But the priest of the village finally killed him with the help of boys of the village. Henceforth, on every day of Holi, village boys run around the village shouting, abusing, giving slangs that is believed to keep away the ogress.