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You are here : home > Indian Culture > Indian Festivals and occassions > Significance of Holi Festival

Significance of Holi Festival


Holi, the festival of colours is synonymous with Gulal and Abir. Learn about the stories that are associated with Holi and significance of Holi celebration.


Holi is one of the most vibrant festivals that are celebrated with immense fervour in the whole of India. It is a major festival that is celebrated with unbridled joy. The fun and frolic that is associated with
Holi is unmatched with any other festival across the world. Holi is celebrated as a mark of the arrival of spring season and therefore is a festival of gaiety that is celebrated with colours. It is thus a celebration of relentless enthusiasm, joy and hope amongst people who cut across all sections of the society.


The Legend of Holi

There are innumerable stories that are associated with Holi. The stories vary along with the states of India spanning from the west, to the north, south and east. The roots of the festival that are believed by people belonging to various states and regions of India are depicted in numerous scriptures. It is essentially the mythology that is associated with this festival that makes it so special to everyone. If you look at the various legends, the most popular amongst them are the stories associated with Lord Krishna and his consort Radhika and the legend of Holika, the demon.

The name of the festival is believed by most to have come from Holika. There is this tradition of lighting bonfires with dry twigs and leaves gathered from the fields and forests to commemorate Holika Dahan. This is the ritualistic manner of warding off all evil and welcoming the good.

The story so goes that Prahlad was the son of Hiranyakashipu, the fierce demon king. He had great aspirations to rule the earth, heaven and beyond. So he challenged the Gods and vanquished the divine army with his immense power. But his son was a noble soul who prayed and chanted the name of Lord Vishnu much to his father’s ire as Hirnyakashipu considered Lord Vishnu to be his enemy. So he pronounced the death of his son by throwing him on fire as Prahlad refused to stop his chanting.

Holika was the demon king’s sister and she had this boon of remaining untouched by fire. So she sat on a fire with Prahlad on her lap, but the little boy remained unaffected by the grace of the Lord and Holika was burnt to death alive. Since then this day has been marked as a victory of the good over evil.


The Radha-Krishna Myth

The traditional colours of Holi are in fact associated with the story and belief of the eternal and divine love of Lord Krishna and that of his consort Radhika. The story so goes that Krishna was very jealous of the fair complexion of Radha when he was a little child as he was dark skinned. So he applied colours on her face. Since then Holi is celebrated as a mark of love where one gets the freedom to apply colours on his beloved’s face.


Holi Celebration as Vasanta Utsav

In many parts of India, Holi is celebrated as Vasanta Utsav, or the festival of spring. Gulaal and Abir are different names for the powdered colours that are used in abundance during the festival. It marks the various colours of bloom of the spring season. The colours mark the joy and abundance and they are meant to be applied on the faces of all those one meets.

Temples and houses are cleaned and decorated with flowers and coloured powders during Holi. People plan community gatherings and visit each other’s houses in order to greet each other with sweets and Gulaal. They smear each other’s faces with colours and exchange pleasantries. It is s festival that also has the social sanction to mingle freely and brings every strata of the society to the same plane of joy and sharing. The music too is an intrinsic part of the festival of Holi.

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Mnavika Rai.6 years ago
Holi should be celebrated in an eco-friendly manner as in true sense it is Vasanta Utsav. this year there is drought and water scarcity everywhere so I going to celebrate dry holi with just colours and have sweets.
 
 
 
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Mnavika Rai.6 years ago
Holi should be celebrated in an eco-friendly manner as in true sense it is Vasanta Utsav. this year there is drought and water scarcity everywhere so I going to celebrate dry holi with just colours and have sweets.
 
 
 
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Smitarekha Mohina.6 years ago
Most of us celebrate Holi without knowing its significance. your write-up is great and I will make my kids read this so that they come to know the significance and legends behind Holi.
 
 
 
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Penny G.6 years ago
I am from Atlanta. I have come to India many times and I like the festival of Holi. It is a great festival. It is truly a colourful and friendly festival. this year I am gonna be in India for celebrating Holi. I am going to have fun. I will also try bhang.....
 
 
 
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Penny G.6 years ago
I am from Atlanta. I have come to India many times and I like the festival of Holi. It is a great festival. It is truly a colourful and friendly festival. this year I am gonna be in India for celebrating Holi. I am going to have fun. I will also try bhang.....
 
 
 
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