The most colorful festival of the Hindu calendar.
3 more days and then hooray – Holi, the festival of colors!
Now known worldwide, Holi is also celebrated outside the Indian sub-continent, although, very often, not exactly on the day designated by the Hindu calendar.
But what does celebrating Holi represent? And what icon does it correspond to? It is a feast linked to the Hindu religion, and for this reason is always celebrated in the month of Phalguna, which generally falls in March.
The word comes from Holika Holi — in Hindu mythology, the King Hiranyakashipu, became very powerful, believed to be stronger than God, and claimed to be the only object of worship. However, his son Prahlada differed from him and continued to worship the god Vishnu. Enraged by the insult of his son, Prahlada was punished by being subject to terrible punishments from which he came out unscathed. Finally, the king’s sister, Holika, tried to destroy Prahlada by making him sit by a bonfire beside her, wearing a coat that would protect her from the fire, while her nephew would have perished, nevertheless, he did not. At the right time, the cloak wrapped Prahlada protecting him from the fire, while Holika burned to death. The legend says, in fact, as good always wins over evil and that purity of mind is always rewarded.
To honour this time, every year, the night before Holi, every corner of India is lit with small bonfires called Holi ka Dahan and all dance and sing in honour of the battle between good and evil.
As with all legends, this too has a different version starring the god Krishna, avatar of Vishnu and his love for the beautiful Radha. The girl was so beautiful that the young Krishna, on the advice of his mother, decided to apply color on his face, in order to look more attractive. The fact is that the sympathetic god liked to joke around and was delighted to play with the cowherd Gopi. This is why the festival of Holi is celebrated with a special enthusiasm in the city of Vrindavan and Mathura or those where Krishna is more revered.
Personally, I prefer the version Prahlada because I like the idea of the struggle between good and evil in which kindness is the only winning weapon.
Today, Holi is a time of care-free living and mending relationships, seeing friends or family, it also marks the arrival of spring, the celebration of love, and especially the cancellation of social differences because everyone – absolutely everyone – come out to play Holi!
Following the Hindu calendar, Holi will be celebrated worldwide on March 24, where all will gather in the streets of cities and villages, rigorously dressed in white, to launch the colored powder called gulal, making the world bursting in colors for a full day. There are those who, on the occasion, indulge in a drink called bhang, made with ingredients such as: milk, almonds, spices and marijuana leaves that provide a certain state of mental exhilaration (though, we do not recommend it).
The color festival of India has now widespread and has inspired many other festivals.
In the US, Holi will be celebrated at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, UT on 26 and 27 March, but there will be other events throughout the year in other cities.
In France, 3 April in Sète.
In Italy, there will be an event in June 11, Naples.
In the UK, to be held at Wembley Park; June 12.
In Germany, several dates have already been published since May and, among these: Monaco on 08.06.2016.
All we have to do is have the colored gulal powders, and play color and allow it cover us while shouting “Bura na mano, Holi hai! (Do not worry, it’s Holi!)
Photo Credit Manuela Nessi ©