The most amusing tales of Holi 2022 every Indian should know
India is a land of festivals where every festival is celebrated with great vigour. All festivals have their religious significance as well that adds value to their festive vibes. One such widely popular and immensely loved festival is Holi. The Hindu festival of Holi is a colorful and vibrant celebration of the arrival of the season spring. Holi is celebrated around India and Nepal and also within the Hindu diaspora across the world.
The advent of spring season symbolizes freshness, rejuvenation, new things, and everything in life that talks optimism. Spring gives feelings of new beginnings brimming with life under sunny sky. Winters are ended and people feel thrust of new energy with everything blooming in their surroundings. Holi is a festival that infuses energetic vibes in all of us. Holi popularly called as festival of colors is known to bring people together where they smear colors on each other. It is a celebration of nature, people and the nation as a whole.
There are two major depictions of the festival of Holi. The first part is known as Holika Dahan and falls on full moon night during the month of Phalguna between February and March. Fire mounds to burn effigy of Holika recall the folklore of Holika perished in the pyre while Prahlada survived. The next day, people gather outside their homes to sing, dance and put colors at each other faces. They also squirt water at each other with matellic tubes called pichkari. These activities recall the moments of Krishna ji rubbing colors on Radha ji’s face. It is a fun filled day of traditional beliefs and modern celebrations.
The festival of Holi originally started as an agricultural festival which talks about blooming season with new flowers and leaves painting the surroundings vibrant. Just like all other Hindu festivals, Holi too has its large share of mythological importance. Amazingly, different states of India have their own unique names for this festival and their own mythological significance of Holi. The three main myths related with Holi involve the Hindu deities Vishnu, Krishna and Shiva. People from various parts of the country have different tales based on each of these myths. In this article we will summarize these most amusing tales of Holi that carry a religious message along with the fun story loved by all of us.
So, let’s explore the mythological side of Holi that it carries at its roots!
Hiranyakashipu, Prahalad and Holika dahan
According to Indian mythology, the festival got its name Holi based on the legend of ‘Holika’. In Vaishnava texts, Hiranyakashipu was the king of demons, and was blessed by Lord Brahma with the boon of immortality. As his power and arrogance rose higher, he began considering himself as God and demanded people that they should worship him instead of any other divine power.
But his own son Prahlad was a true devotee of Lord Vishnu. The king tried several tricks to destroy his son’s trust in divinity but failed. When nothing worked, the cruel king ordered his sister to take young Prahalad in her lap and sit on a pyre. Holika too had a boon that fire couldn’t burn her. Prahlad followed his father’s orders as an obedient child and constantly prayed to Lord Vishnu to save him. Lord Vishnu saved Prahlad and evil Holika was burnt to death. From that day onwards, Holika dahan or burning of hoika has become the most important ritual of Holi celebrations, which marks the end of evil.
Lord Shiva and Kamdeva
According to another mythological story, Lord Shiva almost destroyed the world when he came to know about the immolation of Goddess Sati. He controlled his anger somehow but decided to renounce the world and went into deep meditation. The world became unsafe in his absence and balance on Earth soon started crumbling. Troubled with this situation, Sati took reincarnation as Goddess Parvati to try and win Lord Shiva’s heart and bring him back to the world. She tried hard to wake Lord Shiva up from his trance but all in vein.
It was then that Goddess Parvati requested Kamadev, the Lord of kama and love to help her succeed in her endeavors. Kamdeva agreed and shot an arrow of love at Lord Shiva. Disturbed by such act of Kamadev, Lord Shiva got angered and opened his third eye to burn Kamadeva to ashes. It is believed said that it was the day of Holi only on which Kamadev had sacrificed his life for the well being of the Earth and heaven. Later, when Lord Shiva learnt the whole story, he forgave and granted Kamadev a boon of immortality. This mythological tale also gave birth to the tradition of offering sandalwood paste to Kamadev on Holi, to relieve his burns.
Invincible Dhundhi and crazy boys
Another popular fable is a fable of an ogress called Dhundhi. During the reign of king Prithu, there used to be a terrible ogress called Dhundhi, who loved to devour small and innocent kids. She had performed several austerities and had won several boons from that made her almost immortal. However, Lord Shiva once cursed her that she couldn’t take abuses or harsh words of crazy young boys. She had this weakness and upon learning this flaw of hers, the courageous young boys of the village decided to get rid of her forever by abusing her. They wanted to push her away out of the village forever. They drank bhang and in an intoxicated state followed Dhundi to the outskirts of the village while thrumming drums, and shouting, making loud noises and hurling insults at her. They continued this weird behavior until she left the village for good. This is the reason that even today young boys are permitted to indulge themselves in rowdiness, intoxication, use of harsh and rude words on Holi. This crazy chase of young crazy boys symbolizes children’s pranks on Holi today.
The most favorite legend- Lord Krishna and Radha
Amongst all the mythological legends, the most popular and adorable tale is of Lord Krishna and Radha. Shri Krishna with Radha and other gopis playing Holi on the banks of the river Yamuna is one of the most loved depictions of the festival Holi. In Vrindavan and Mathura, the festival of Holi is a celebration of devotion towards Lord Krishna and his divine counterpart shri Radhe. Ancient theology states that when Lord Krishna was young, he regularly complained to mother Yashoda about his dark complexion. He used to wonder why Radha ji is has fair complexion and he has dark one. One day, he was extremely sad for this fact it was then that mother yashoda playfully suggested that he should smear any color of his choice on Radha ji’s face to change her complexion as per his choice.
Krishna ji was fascinated by the idea suggested by his mother and smeared Radha’s face with colors. It was the first introduction of modern Holi. Owing to this story, the festival of Holi is celebrated with similar mood and festivities. Even today, people smear the faces of their loved ones with bright gulal or colors and play pranks on each other. Just like radha and Krishna, lovers too sing and dance in love for each other this day. This makes us realize Shri Krishna’s Raas-leela during his time.