Holi Festival

When did the Holi Festival start?

The first recorded date of Holi Festival being celebrated on April 16 was in the year 4th Century AD..

About Holi Festival Festival

Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival that is celebrated on the first full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna. The festival is celebrated in a variety of ways, from days of family gathering, traditional processions, and joyous dance performances, to playfully smearing each other in bright and vibrant colored powders.

Celebrated in many countries around the world, including India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, Holi is considered an important religious and joyous social event. It is a time for communities to celebrate good harvests, new seasons, and new beginnings as well as a time for renewal and joy. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness, and of spring of winter.

The day before Holi is known as 'Holika Dahan' and is celebrated by some as a time to destroy evil forces from the world. During 'Holika Dahan', effigies of the demoness Holika are burned and prayers are offered to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. The next day, on the actual festival of Holi, the colourful fun begins as people throw and splash each other with brightly coloured water, dance, sing, and exchange gifts to show their love and appreciation for each other.

Holi: A Spring Festival of Colors Celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Others

History and Origin

Holi is an ancient Hindu festival, celebrating the onset of spring across India and the diverse cultures connected with the subcontinent. The festival of colors has been celebrated since time immemorial with various gods and goddesses of Hinduism depicted as taking part in the fun. It is believed to have been celebrated since the Indus Valley Civilization, around 3000 B.C.

Holi is based on two separate stories from Hindu mythology. The first is the tale of Holika, a demoness in Hindu mythology, described in the Bhagavata Purana. It is said that Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, had the ability to withstand blazing fire without harm. The king was a powerful man, capable of nearly anything, but his son, Prahlad, devotedly worshipped the Hindu god Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu ordered Holika to sit in a raging bonfire with Prahlad in her lap and prove her invincibility to fire. But as the flames rose and licked the sky, Holika’s powers and blaspheme failed her and she died while Prahlad survived miraculously. The second is the story of Krishna and Radha. It is said that, as a child, Krishna was jealous of Radha’s fair complexion and asked his mother Yashoda to make his skin darker. Yashoda could not do this, so Krishna thought of a prank, and, while celebrating Holi with his friends, he colored Radha’s face and arms with colors made of flower powder and mud.

Significance and Meaning

Holi has a great spiritual significance in Hinduism, as it marks the victory of good over evil, of right over wrong, of knowledge over ignorance. Holi also celebrates the arrival of new life and the end of the winter season, being a festival of joy and festivity. On the day of Holi, Hindus also pay homage to Lord Vishnu and ask for his blessings. It is believed that on this day, Vishnu takes away all ills and shortcomings from a person’s life and grant them success. This is why many Hindus light a Holi fire or ‘Holika’ in front of their houses.

Traditions and Celebrations

Holi festivities begin the night before the actual festival, with a traditional bonfire to mark the death of Holika and provide light to illuminate the darkness of ignorance. A great feast prepared during Holi is prepared the night before, to be eaten on the day of the festival. This often includes special dishes like Gujia, pakoras, papri, and several types of sweets.

On the day of Holi, people exchange gifts such as sweets, dried fruits, and money. Everyone wears bright and vibrant clothes and visit each other. Friends, family, and neighbors often gather around the Holi bonfire, singing songs, and rejoicing in the joyous atmosphere. Although the festival of color mostly involves throwing gulal, abir, and dry colors, people also celebrate by bursting into water-filled balloons and spraying each other with colored water.

Geographical Spread

Holi is celebrated all over India and throughout the Indian subcontinent. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists in many parts of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. It is also celebrated throughout the world wherever there is a significant Indian and South Asian community.

Modern Day Observations

Modern day Holi celebrations have evolved since its ancient beginnings. In addition to the traditional Bonfire, Holi is often preceded by Holika Dahan. This ritual re-enacts the ancient Holika-Prahlad myth, and is seen as a symbolic victory of good over evil.

Holi’s popularity has also spread outside the Indian subcontinent. It is now a worldwide event that celebrates the diversity and unity of all cultures. The festival has become an opportunity to bring people together, no matter their culture, religion, or backgrounds.

Interesting Facts and Trivia

Holi is an ancient festival, with its origins said to predate the Rig Veda.

In Nepal, the festival is known as Fagu and is celebrated during the full moon according to the lunar calendar.

Traditionally, Holi is celebrated over two days, with the first day known as Chhoti Holi and the second day known as Rangwali Holi.

Singh (2011) has a special type of Holi known as Khari Holi, which is celebrated in Uttar Pradesh. In this Holi, a mixture of water, soil, and cow dung is used.

In some parts of Rajasthan, Holi is celebrated with a procession of floats, including people on horseback, camels, elephants, and folk musicians.

Holi is also celebrated as a family festival, with families coming together and feasting on traditional sweets.

Conclusion

Holi is a colorful festival that is widely celebrated in India and throughout the world. It is observed as a time of joy and happiness, bringing people together to celebrate life and the victory of good over evil. It symbolizes a new beginning of life, and is celebrated with feasts, music, dancing, colors, and joyous stories from Hindu mythology. Holi is a time to rejoice and be grateful for all that life has to offer.

How to Say "Holi Festival" In Different Languages?

Bulgarian
Холи ()
Dutch
Holi Festival (nl-NL)
Finnish
Holi Festival (fi-FI)
German
Holi Festival (de-DE)
Hindi
होली (hi-IN)
Indonesian
Holi Festival (id-ID)
Irish
Holi (ga-IE)
Italian
Holi Festival (it-IT)
Japanese
ホーリー (ja-JP)
Mandarin
荷里 (zh-CN)
Persian
هلی (fa-IR)
Russian
Холи (ru-RU)
Spanish
Festival de Holi (es-MX)
Thai
ฮอลี (th-TH)
Holi Festival Also Called
The Festival of Love, the Festival of Spring, or the Festival of Colors.
Countries where "Holi Festival" is celebrated:

FUN FACT:
In year 4th Century AD., Holi Festival is celebrated on April 16 for the first time.

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