Holi: the Festival of Colors in India

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Did you ever thought there could be a festival devoted to throwing colored powder at people and getting dirty, or we could say, colorful, on purpose? Well, there is. The Hinduism festival, Holi, is one of the most colorful festivals in the world, literally. In this paper, I am going to tell you about this particular festival, why people celebrate it, what you do at the festival, and etcetera. First, let’s talk about where Holi came from. This festival, like many other Hinduism festivals, are linked to Hinduism mythology. There are a couple different myths, and I am going to tell you the two of the more popular ones. The first one involves an evil king named Hiranyakashipu. He does not like his son Prahlad to worship Vishnu, but Prahlad continued to pray to the god. Getting angry with his son, he challenged Prahlad to sit on a pyre with his wicked aunt Holika who was a demon and therefore immune to fire. Prahlad accepted the challenge and prayed to Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, Holika was burnt to death, while Prahlad survived without a scar. The burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi, hence, the name. Holika and Prahlad were challenged to sit on a burning pyre, which is basically a bonfire, which is also one of the ways that Holi is celebrated. In another version, Holika begged Prahlad for forgiveness before she died, so he decided that she would be remembered every year at Holi. There is another myth that traces back to Holi, but in a different, and lovelier way.

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The god Krishna loves the goddess Radha, but he’s embarrassed by his skin color, which is a vibrant blue color, unlike Radha’s pale pink. His mother, Yashoda, advised him to playfully smear his crush’s face with paint so they look alike. Radha is known as the supreme goddess because as the Hinduism saying goes, Krishna enchants the world, but Radha enchants even him. What a beautiful love story. This is also the reason that there is colored powder and water involved in the celebration of Holi. Lovers today would also make sure that their faces match during Holi to continue this romantic tradition. Holi is a celebration spread across, originally five days, but now altered to normally only two, but in some areas longer. For example, Vrindavan and Mathura because it is two cities which Krishna is closely associated with. Holi is celebrated at the last full moon of the Hindus lunar calendar, which means that it could fall between late February and late March on our calendar. The holiday’s main spirit is to really let loose of any social restrictions like caste, gender, age, and status. It brings people together regardless of the social gapes that India naturally have. While Holi is being celebrated, everyone can loosen up their normal political behavior and languages, and generally enjoy the merry holiday. During Holi, caste and social divides are momentarily suspended for the two days of this peculiar celebration.

On the first day of Holi, also known as Holika Dahan, a bonfire would be held at night to celebrate the burning of Prahlad’s evil aunt Holika. This is one of the important rituals of Holi, and families would gather around the fire and roast grain, popcorn, coconuts and chick peas together. Hindu boys would go out in search of scrap wood in the whole week leading up to Holi. The fire would be lit at sometime between ten o’clock PM to midnight and everyone would gather to watch the bonfire. Things would normally get very chaotic as everyone celebrated Prahlad’s victory over evil. On the second day of Holi, or Rangwali Holi, is the carnival of colors. This is more renowned event of Holi, which is also known as let's-all-go-throw-color-at-each-other-and-no-one-would-care day. Rangwali Holi is the celebration of love, new life, youth, fertility and playfulness. Every shade represents a different life force: yellow symbolizes healing, red is a sign of love, fertility and marriage, blue is the color of Krishna and green represents new beginnings. The powder used in Holi is traditionally made of flowers, herbs and other natural materials which most of them have medical properties. But now, most powders are made with food coloring and flour. People are normally advised to moisturize their skin and rub their hair with oil before they take part in the celebration so that it is easier to wash out afterwards.

The colored powders are also mixed with water to make face paint, so you are advised to not bring electronical devices to the celebrations, and maybe don’t wear your best clothes. On this awesome day, millions of people rush to the streets all over India to throw handfuls of colorful powder at whoever that they come across and to squirt at people with water guns, filled of course with colored water. Think about how awesome this is, a day devoted to getting people wet and colorful at the same time, a perfect reason to start a water gun slash powder battle amongst your friends. After the celebrating, most people would return home, clean up and get dressing in their best clothes to share gifts and traditional sweets. Holi is one of the most fun and exciting sounding celebrations I ever heard about, but it is also a fiesta with its own story. The celebration comes from a myth, a story, but it is much more, it is not only a festivity celebrated by Hindus, not only a time where throwing powder at people be perfectly permitted. It is a time where caste, age, and gender doesn’t matter, and anyone is free to be interact with anyone. Though there is not much of the caste system left anymore, this is celebration had been continued from about the fourth century, when the caste system is very much alive. Enough about the deep stuff though, I’d to consider that Holi is the most fun sounding festivals I heard of. What about you?

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Holi: the Festival of Colors in India. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/holi-the-festival-of-colors-in-india/> [Accessed 25 Jul. 2024].
Holi: the Festival of Colors in India [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Nov 26 [cited 2024 Jul 25]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/holi-the-festival-of-colors-in-india/
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