A day spent at Holi Festival
The Holi is a Hindu celebration that takes place every year. This festival is known worldwide for its colorful and traditional powder release, called Gulal. Hinduism celebrate it in the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. This celebration is known in the West as the Festival of Colors and is the most famous Hindu ceremony in the hemisphere.
In America, Houston Holi Festival was celebrated. It was an open-air event with Live Concert on Bollywood songs, whole day color was played, and there were Indian Folk Dance Performances, Free Carnival Rides and Holi Pragitya (Bonfire Lighting). Pichkaris (water guns), Music, Dancing, Maha Aarti (ceremonial prayers for world peace), many sponsored giveaways, rides, Photo Booths, Rikshaws’ parades and Street Food was also enjoyed in this festival. Festival had very nominal rate of tickets, which attracted a large number of audiences, not only South Asian families, but also local audience from Houston and surrounding areas. The celebration started early, it allowed everyone to enjoy the party to the maximum avoiding the problems that may arise as the day progresses. During the Holi, the consumption of bhang was very common, a "sacred" ingredient prepared from cannabis, to which medicinal properties are attributed. The bhang was mixed with different foods, drinks and infusions in order to increase the euphoria that intoxicates the celebration. The crown festival park, Houston was dyed in color to receive spring. Although the holiest essence of Holi always give a trip to India. However, it is best to celebrate Holi in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal or another region where the Hindu community is significant, and the authentic experiences of this celebration can be experienced.
Holi is one of the most important holidays for Hindus and the one that most arouses emotions among tourists and followers of Indian culture. The entrance of spring is celebrated as a big party with crowds in public spaces where the origin of the festival is diluted in the water with which the toy guns are loaded. Where there is no lack of sunglasses, colored powders, music and a lot of imagination that make the American cities vibrate in an explosion of light and color.
The mythical origin of the holi festival
As every year with the arrival of spring, millions of people celebrate the Holi festival in India. Dances and music are mixed in this Hindu tradition that has spread throughout the world, to places in Europe and America. Celebrations for the Holi festival begins on the night of the full moon, in the eleventh month of the Hindu calendar (it coincides between the end of February and the middle of March). The first night is known as Holika Dahan, or Chhoti Holi. It is not until the second day of this long celebration when Holi is properly spoken.
How old is the Holi festival?
Going back to the past to see when Holi is celebrated, different theories are found that say it existed several centuries before Christ. While it is believed that the meaning of the festival has changed over the years. Previously, it was a special ritual of full moon worship (Raka) performed by married women in favor of the happiness and well-being of their families. There is a stone inscription dating from 300 BC that is located in Ramgarh in the province of Vindhya where you can see a mention of Holikotsav. There are also references to the Holi festival in sculptures on the walls of ancient temples such as the sixteenth-century panels carved in a temple in Hampi, Karnataka state in southern India where you can see a scene in which a prince and their princess surrounded by their servants who wait for them with syringes or pichkaris to soak the royal couple in colored water.
Celebration of good over evil
This celebration of spring has mythical origins and there are several legends that tell the story. One of the most popular is the one that refers to Holika, the evil sister of King Hiranyakashipu and Prince Prahlada's aunt. The moral of this legend is that good always wins over evil.
The love story of radha and krishna
Another one of the legends around the festival Holi is the one that explains the use of the colored powders: it turns out that Krishna was in love with Radha; but he was jealous of her white skin. When seeking advice about the problem, Krishna asked his mother, Yashoda, what the solution might be. She replied that she could paint the face of her beloved with dark colors. Thus both would have the same skin color.
When do the colors appear?
The appearance of the colors goes back to when God Krishna , reincarnation of the God Vishnu used the colors in the celebrations of Holi making of it a made of this a community event. In the past, the colors used during Holi celebrations were obtained naturally from spices such as turmeric, sandalwood paste, flower extracts and leaves. Unfortunately nowadays the industrial dyes produced chemically and many times without any quality control and with the consequent risk for the skins have won the game to the natural colors. Today in India there is a stream of social and ecological awareness that promotes a holi celebration more sustainable and responsible and that wants to recover the colored powders produced in an organic way and with quality and health controls. However, during the celebrations throughout the country they still earn synthetics that can be bought in clear plastic bags and for a few rupees in any corner of cities and towns.
How long and how is it celebrated?
It lasts two days from the day of the full moon or Purnima determined by the Hindu calendar and coinciding more or less with the equinox of spring.
Day 1: The first day is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi when at night people gather around a bonfire to remember the burning of Holika, where religious rituals take place and pray for the internal evil to be destroyed.
Day 2: Rangwali Holi an explosion of colors, where everyone play and chase with either color powder or colored water.
The color festival
The Holi festival is a celebration of happiness and freedom. Perhaps for this reason, it has become popular from India to the whole world. Without a doubt, it is one of those parties that, have become universal. During the Holi holiday there are no differences between social classes, religions, ages and sexes. It is a celebration that brings one and others together in a brief moment of fun and carefreeness, in which it does not matter to get dirty to the fullest. Holi is first of all a religious festival, where fraternity, fun and joy are also very present. A party that, if you can, you should not miss.
No matter where, fun and euphoria are there. For all, the event is important because during the Holi, social barriers fall, there are more classes, more differences (women participate as much as men). Symbol of fraternity, the Holi is (among others) the opportunity to show his love, his friendship to others: people exchange sweets, gifts (white dresses for girls, pajamas for boys). Among Christians, all religious holidays are dedicated to the Supreme Being. On the other hand, among the Hindus, there are feasts dedicated to the deities and festivals dedicated to the seasons like for example the holi festival of the spring which, celebrates the spring and its fertility. Attending a weekly prayer session in church is much different than attending the annual celebration of Holi, since in church you can only see black and white colors mostly, calmness in air, light music and soberness is the overriding factor, whereas, in holi festival, vibrant colors, noise, loud music, dances and other fun filled activities are over powering.
Crooke, W. (1914). The Holi: A vernal festival of the Hindus. Folklore, 25(1), 55-83.
Fenton, J. Y. (1988). Transplanting Religious Traditions: Asian Indians in America. Greenwood Publishing Group.
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