Each year, India is dyed in bright colors to receive spring. Thanks to the Holi festival India, it seems that the huge social gaps disappear. In this traditional festival, men and women, rich and poor, children and adults come together to celebrate this long-awaited party of colors together.
What is Holi festival in India
Holi is a festival of religious origin that is celebrated mainly in India. But also in some other countries, like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa or the United Kingdom, where large Hindu communities. The event is also known as the Spring Festival, as it celebrates the end of the winter season on the last full moon of the month. This usually coincides with the end of February or the beginning of March.
Legends about the Holi festival India
The different celebrations of the Holi festival India come from several Hindu legends. But there are two that are relatively well known across the world and, of course, in India.
Holika is the evil sister of King Hiranyakashipu and Prince Prahlada’s aunt. It all began when Hiranyakashipu was granted extraordinary powers that led him to believe that he was a god. The only god that people should worship.
Prince Prahlada decided to continue worshiping Vishnu as this was the tradition. This infuriated his father to such an extent that the king decided to punish him.
Holika plotted the idea of inviting her nephew to sit with her in the center of a bonfire. Of course, it was a death trap. A magic cloak would protect her from the flames but her nephew would die. Fortunately, the whole plan went wrong for the cruel Holika.
The god Vishnu, the one the prince worshiped, appeared at that moment and killed the arrogant king. The moral of the story is that good always triumphs over evil. And the legend shows why the Holi festival India begins the morning after the bonfire.
Radha and Krishna, a true love story
Another of the legends of the Holi festival refers to the love of Radha and Krishna. Krishna asked his mother, Yashoda, why Radha had white skin whereas his skin was so dark. And Yashoda replied that in order not to be jealous of Radha’s skin shade, she would give him a solution. This was to paint her face with dark colors. Thus, the two lovers would be the same. Since then, all lovers paint their faces with the colors of the Holi.
When do Hindus celebrate de Holi festival India
The date of its celebration varies, as it needs to coincide with the end of the cold weather. This is not always on the 21st of March. The festival takes place when the weather is nice. In any case, the festival tends to take place at the very end of February or in March.
This is what happens during the celebrations
The original celebration consists essentially of throwing bright colored powders and colored water to each other, as a symbol of happiness for the arrival of spring. This is an attempt to emulate the cheerful colors of the flowers that will be born during the coming season. It is a magical moment, of joy, fun, music, and dance. But above that all, it is a spiritual celebration. On the eve of the festival, bonfires are lit as a commemoration of the triumph of “good” over “evil”.
The symbols of the Holi festival India
The traditional face of Holi maintains that at the beginning of the spring season when the weather changes, it is very likely that there are viruses and colds. Throwing colored powders has a medical meaning. Traditionally they have been manufactured from herbs prescribed by the Ayurveda (traditional Indian doctors). Unfortunately, the commercial aspect of the celebration has increased the use of synthetic colors that can be toxic, so we recommend you to make sure that you buy Gulal powders. In other words: purchase natural powders to be safe during the festival.
Beyond the festival
Perhaps the best thing about the festival is the freedom that people experience. Some practices that would be unthinkable in other contexts due to the strict Indian social rules are perfectly acceptable during the celebration of Holi. Women, above all, are the ones who enjoy the most that feeling of freedom.
A festival without barriers
For a few days, the festival closes the social gap between rich and poor, all are equal and free to embrace each other and wish themselves Happy Holi for a few hours a year.
Would you like to travel to India to enjoy this feeling of freedom? Do you wonder how it feels to sink in colors, regretless, shameless? That is something we do not usually do here in Europe. If you need any help to arrange your trip to India, just give us a call. There is much more to enjoy there as well as the Holi.