Indian Culture Description
The one thing that makes the entire world wonder about India is the diversity. The Language, Slang, Food, Dressing Style, Dance Forms, Music and many more changes for every few km in India but the entire nation comes together when in need and to celebrate the festivals together. With lots of mythological stories giving reasons for celebration, India has at least one festival per month, boosting the local economy and keeping the moods of the people on the brighter side.
Holi is one of the festivals in India which every youngster will look forward to enjoying. Also known as the Festival of Colors, Holi creates a positive vibe all across the nation. In this article, we want to explain the story behind this festival, how the nation celebrates Holi and the spread of this festival outside India.
Once upon a time, there used to be a king called Hiranyakashyap who is said to be the king of Daityas (A clan of Asuras – Demonic in nature). Hiranyakashyap has a boon of superpower. He can neither be killed by a human nor an animal, day or night, indoor or outdoor, on land or air or water and neither by any weapon. This boon raised the ego in Hiranyakashyap and he eventually felt himself to be the God. He started demanding everyone to worship him as God.
Prahlada is Hiranyakashyap’s son and he disagreed to worship him saying that he will worship Lord Vishnu and will remain as a devotee of Vishnu. This made Hiranyakashyap furious and he tortured his own son to accept him as God, but Prahladha never agreed. At one point, the demonic ego of Hiranyakashyap grew to an extreme level that he ordered his demonic sister Holika who has a special power of immunity to fire, to make Prahladha sit on her lap and be set on fire.
Prahlada chanted the name of Vishnu all through the process and to everyone’s surprise to see him walk out of the fire without burning while Holika turns to ashes. Holika’s special power of immunity to fire is applicable only if she is alone and to save herself but as she is not alone and her intention is to kill Prahladha, her power failed to protect her. Seeing Prahladha come out of the fire unharmed, Hiranyakashyap decided to kill him at any cost and this time Lord Vishnu himself appears in the form of Narasimha Avatar (Half Human Half Lion) and kills Hiranyakashyap at dusk which is neither day nor night.
Narasimha Avatar of Lord Vishnu is neither completely Human nor completely Lion. Lord Vishnu drags Hiranyakashyap to the doorstep which is neither indoor nor outdoor, places him on his lap which is not completely in air or water or land and uses his lion claws to kill Hiranyakashyap, which is not a regular weapon.
All the people in the kingdom celebrate this moment as a festival of good over evil.
A lesson in the story:
Ancient Indians used to teach culture and a path to a happy life through mythological stories with a lesson. The lesson in this story is that everyone will have an angel and a demonic side and it is important to keep the demonic intentions in control else they will end up destroying their lives as Hiranyakashyap. When life blesses us with good, we should use it for the good. If the intention takes a wrong direction like Holika using her power to do harm to Prahladha instead of using it for good or Hiranyakashyap using his wonderful boon to be an egoistic and demonic person rather than protecting people, one might destroy themselves.
Holi is celebrated every year to let go of the egos, bad intentions and the demonic side of oneself and start the year with a good heart for a colourful life.
Holi is celebrated in the month of Phalguna which is the 12th month as per the Hindu Calendar (Feb/Mar), saying goodbye to winter and welcoming the spring season. In several Indian states, the night before Holi will have a bonfire, depicting the Holika episode of the story. On the day of Holi, people will spray colours, drink a locally made drink Bhang and dance to the songs in celebration. At the night, people spend time with family playing games and exchanging sweets. A day of letting go of past egos, forgiving ourselves and everyone and looking forward to a fresh year ahead.
Holi all over the world:
India and Nepal have been celebrating Holi right from ancient times. From the past few decades, Holi turned quite popular in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Fiji, Canada, South Africa, Mauritius, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Surinam and many more South-East Asian and European countries.
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