Holi marks the festival of colours

Holi is a vibrant celebration that marks the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. Today, Holi is celebrated not just in India but around the world, transcending cultural and geographical boundaries. It has seeped into Bollywood as well. Amitabh Bachchan’s own voice in two songs from Silsila (1981) and Baghban (2003) respectively reverberates across the nation on this day. Youngsters also groove to Balam Pichkari from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013).

However, the festival’s roots are steeped in Hindu mythology and tradition, with various legends shaping its observance. The most popular legend associated with Holi is the story of Holika and Prahlad. Hiranyakashipu, a demon king, was granted a boon that made him virtually indestructible. His son Prahlad, however, remained devoted to Lord Vishnu, defying his father’s orders to worship him instead. In an attempt to kill Prahlad, Hiranyakashipu enlisted the help of his sister Holika, who was immune to fire. They planned to burn Prahlad alive, but through divine intervention, Prahlad emerged unscathed while Holika perished. This legend is commemorated on Holi through the ritual of Holika Dahan, where bonfires are lit to represent the burning of Holika.

KnowALLedge Plus:

Holi celebrations vary across different regions of India, each with unique traditions. Here are a few of them:

>Lathmar Holi: In Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, women playfully hit men with sticks, emulating the actions of the gopis of Vrindavan who did the same to Lord Krishna.

>Phoolon wali Holi: At the Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, instead of colors, flowers are thrown at the devotees, creating a beautiful and fragrant environment.

>Royal Holi: In Rajasthan’s Udaipur, the royal family hosts an elaborate function at the City Palace, where the festival is celebrated with much pomp and show.

>Yaosang: In Manipur, the festival is combined with the indigenous spring festival ‘Yaosang’, where folk dances and sports are organized.

>Shigmo: In Goa, the festival is known as Shigmo and is celebrated with street dances, parades, and traditional folk songs.

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