The Festival of Colors
Holi–the festival of colors–also known as Vasant Utsav, falls on the Pratipada during dark half (Krishna Paksha) of the Chaitra Month as per Hindu calendar. If the Pratipada is falling on two days then the first day is believe as the day of Dhulandi (Vasantotsav or Holi). Holi is also celebrated as the advent of spring season by taking impetus from the colors. This festival is also known as Dhulandi, a name well-liked in the state of Haryana.
Description of Holi can be found since pristine times. In Hampi, capital of Vijayanagara kingdom, a 16th century caricature of this festival had been found. Similarly, a 300 BC inscription recounting Holi had is found at Ramgarh near Vindhya hills.
Legends of Holi
There are different legends behind the festival of Holi like Hiranyakashipu-Prahlad story, Radha-Krishna legend and the story of the ogress (female monster) Dhundi.
2021 falls on the Purnima (full moon day) of Falgun month as per Hindu calendar. The festival denotes the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated one day before Holi with good bonfire. It celebrates the slaughter of Holika–the sister of Hiranyakashipu. The bonfire denotes the fire in which Holika (Hiranyakashipu’s sister) burnt herself while trying burn to kill Prahlad.
Rangwali Holi is also celebrated in memory of the undying love of Lord Krishna and Radha. Once upon a time, Krishna asked Yashoda why he was not as fair as Radha. Yashoda jokingly gives idea Krishna to apply color on Radha’s face as it would make her complexion dark too. Lord Krishna, then, played with Radha and Gopis with different colors. Since then, the day is celebrated as the festival of colors.
The legend of the ogress (female monster) Dhundi says that she was ensue away by the people of Prthu owing to a curse from Lord Shiva.
Holi Celebration in Different Parts of India
This festival is celebrated magnanimously in Braj area, where Lord Shri Krishna and Devi Radha played their Leela (divine play). Lathmar Holi of Barsana in Braj is very famous. In Malwa area of Madhya Pradesh, Rangpanchami is celebrated after fifth day of Holi. It is celebrated with even more fervor than Holi. People play with dry colors in some parts of Maharashtra on Rang Panchami.
This festival of colors denotes unity and love irrespective of caste, class or gender. Wish you a very Happy Holi!