The chant of Holi Hai! Holi Hai, perhaps, is meant to urge everybody to disremember the social divisions of the ladder in all its forms and let essential playfulness reign. Holi is celebrated the day after the full moon. It is a two-day festival and is synonymous with harvest and prosperity. This is one festival that truly depicts the composite essence of not only India but the whole sub-continent is Holi. It is not just a festival of colours but a celebration of life itself. It is mostly referred to as for everyone, who loves each other to forget all enemies. It is one of those unique occasions when the bright colours demolish all the social barriers. Without harmony, there can’t be peace. Holi falls in the spring season which is a favourite to everyone. Human harmony with the self, nature, fellow beings, and with the society is the basis of universal peace and happiness. Moreover, Holi is celebrated to commemorate the Hindu mythological tale of Prahlada emerging unscathed from the flames despite being drawn into the fire by demoness Holika.
Long ago, there was an Asura king named Hiranyakashipu and he had a son, Prahlad – a holy spirit and highly devoted to God. Prahlad’s devotion enraged Hiranyakashipu and he planned to kill his own son. He asked her sister Holika, who was immune to fire, to sit in fire taking Prahlad in her lap. Fortunately, Prahlad, who was blessed by Lord, was saved and Holika was burnt to ashes. This gave birth to the festival of Holi. It dissolves social differences and brings people together. In fact, Holika Dahan, a day before Dhulandi, symbolises the bonfire of all ill-feeling. The message of egalitarianism marks this festival and distinguishes it from others.
A festival that is all about colours also brings along with it the spirit of joy, love, peace, and enthusiasm in our hearts. It is an amalgamation of old-age traditions, unique customs and modern parties, dance, and food. It is said that Akbar was very fond of Holi and played it with not only his courtiers but also the masses, for which he would come out of his palace. That was the day even a commoner could put colours on the Emperor of India. Even a zealot like Aurangzeb did not stop people from celebrating Holi on the streets.
Holi experiences differ from city to city in India. Holi gives us to forgive even our enemies and play with them, celebrate with them and make friends with them. I would like to quote Sahir Ludhianvi from Meri Pehli Holi: “Zindagi Ke Her Rang Ko Chand Lamhaat Mein Dekh Liya/Meri Pehli Holi Ne Mujhe Falsafana Bana Diya” (I saw all colours of life in a few moments/ My very first Holi made me a philosopher). Holi is the time when man and nature alike throw off the gloom of winter and rejoice in the colours and liveliness of spring. The strictness of the social structure in terms of age, sex, status, and caste is loosened. Some of the biggest celebrations take place in the temples of Vrindavan, a town in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where, according to legend, the Hindu god Krishna played Holi with his consort Radha. Like the colours of a rainbow, that are different yet together they reflect beauty, may this festival bring together all the colours of India’s diversity in a rainbow of unity. The festival of Holi in a spiritual sense stands for the victory of virtues over vices, light over darkness, mind over matter, subtle over the gross, love over hatred, and divinity over the demonic. Don’t we think our lives will be enriched with harmony by making our societies peaceful with happiness all around us?
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