(This is the first of a two-part blog entry on The Holi Festival.)
I love India!
I have been to several festivals in India but none are as joyous, devotional, energetic and chaotic as the Holi Festival.
The myths and legends that surround the COLOR Holi differ around the country, but the basic principle remains the same.
Prahlada, son of demon King Hanyakashipu was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He disobeyed the orders of his evil father not to offer prayers to the Lord Vishnu. To teach his son a lesson, King Hanyakashipu used the assistance of his daughter, Holika to kill his son, Prahlada. Holika sat on a bonfire with Prahlada, but to the amazement of the King, the fire burnt alive the invincible Holika and Prahlada remained unaffected.
Holi is meant to symbolize the triumph of good over evil, the importance of love and of happiness, and supports the formation of new friendships. Holi is celebrated at a time of the year when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest. The festival marks the end of winter and the abundance of the upcoming spring harvest season. This gives the people a good reason to rejoice, make merry and submerge themselves in the spirit of Holi. All these legends help the people to follow good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and fight away the evil.
Many centuries ago the expression of renewal took the form of showering colors on friends and family members. Today it is an opportunity for young and old to play in colors and water by dowsing passersby. No one on the streets escapes! What a celebration! What an experience!