Holi Story | Holi Article | Indian Festivals
Holi Story | Holi Article | Indian Festivals – In India, there is unity in diversity. People of many different castes and religions live in India. As different castes, also have different languages and different festivals too.
Similarly, even if the festival is the same, the way it is celebrated, the name of the festival is different in different regions.
Just last week we celebrated the first festival of this new year, Makar Sankranti. As I said that every festival is known by different names, and Makar Sankranti also has different names.
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Makar Sankranti known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Pedda Panduga in Andhra Pradesh, Makara Sankranti in Karnataka, Telangana, and Maharashtra, Magh Bihu in Assam, Magha Mela in parts of central and north India, as Makar Sankranti in the west, Makara Sankranti or Shankaranti in Kerala, and the names are going on & on.
As we celebrated Makar Sankranti in January, we celebrated Mahashivratri in February, Now in March, we are going to celebrate Holi.
Holi is celebrated in different states of India and it is known by different names as well. The first evening is known as “Holika Dahan” or “Chhoti Holi” and the following day as Holi, Rangwali Holi, Dol Purnima, Rangpanchami, Dhuleti, Dhulandi, Ukuli, Manjal Kuli, Yaosang, shigmo, Phagwah, or Jajiri.
Every festival celebrated in India has mythological stories as well as scientific reasons for every festival.
Today let’s see why and how Holi is celebrated in India. First, I am going to share with you a mythological story behind the celebration of Holi.
The name Holi is derived from Holika. Holika was the sister of Asuraraja Hiranyakashypu. Hiranyakashyapu had received a boon from Lord Brahma.
According to that blessing, Hiranyakashyap’s death will not be caused by any human or animal, neither he will die inside nor outside. After meeting this boon, Hiranyakashypu told his subjects that they should worship him only and not any other god.
But his own son Prahlad continued to worship Lord Vishnu. After realizing this, Hiranyakashypu became very angry.
He ordered to be pushed Prahlada off the mountain, but nothing happened to Prahlada. After that, Hiranyakashypu threw Prahlada into a well, and nothing happened to him.
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Seeing that nothing happened to Prahlada, Hiranyakashypu’s anger increased even more. Now he ordered Prahlada to be crushed under the feet of a wild elephant, but even this wild elephant could not harm Prahlada.
Seeing that Prahlada was unharmed, Hiranyakashypu locked him in a room and released angry and poisonous snakes in that room, but still, Prahlada was unharmed.
Finally, frustrated Hiranyakashipu decided to talk to his sister Holika and seek her help.
When he asks Holika to help him to kill Prahlada, Holika says brother, you don’t have to worry because this time Prahlada will not survive.
Actually, Hiranyakashypu’s sister Holika was blessed with one boon. Holika receives a boon from Lord Shiva,
According to this, she will not be harmed by fire, i.e. she will not be burnt by fire. Hence Holika decided to use this boon to kill Prahlada.
Some places also mention that Holika received a shawl as a boon from Lord Shiva. If she wear this shawl over herself, she will not be burnt by fire.
Now gathering the logs in one place and lighting them on fire, Holika put the shawl on herself and sat in the burning fire with Prahlada on her lap.
She was sure that she was not in danger from the fire and she would not be burnt in this fire but Prahlad would definitely be burnt.
But by God’s grace, this Holika started burning by pulling the shawl, and Prahlada was still sitting peacefully and chanting the name of Lord Narayana.
Holika was burnt in the fire but Prahlad was still meditating and chanting Lord Narayana. He was not burned in the fire. Prahlad came out of the fire with a smile on his face.
Hiranyakashypu’s lips were muttering with anger at the death of his sister. He was very disturbed by this devotional attitude of Prahlada. And he wanted to kill Prahlada at any cost.
One day Hiranyakashypu called a meeting, in that meeting he spoke to his son Prahlad and tied him to a pillar. Hiranyakashypu asked Prahlada that fool tell me where is your Lord Narayana whom you always chant.
Prahlad said, Father, my God is everywhere. Hiranyakashypu said, then why can’t I see your god? Prahlad said, Father, I see my Narayan in this pillar too.
Hearing this, Hiranyakashypu gets very angry and gets ready with a sword in his hand and hits the pillar with his other hand.
As soon as he hits the pillar, very horrible words are heard. And by breaking that pillar, Lord Vishnu comes out in the Narsingh avatar.
This Narsingh form of God was very terrifying. Seeing his appearance, no one was ready to go in front of him.
Seeing this, Hiranyakashypu angrily ran to kill the god. Seeing Hiranyakashipu coming towards him, God took him on his lap and tore him from his stomach.
When God killed Horanyakashyapu, he was sitting on the threshold of the house. Seeing that the Lord’s anger was not abated after the killing, Prahlad also went to the Lord’s feet, seeing Prahlada the Lord’s kind heart was awakened and his anger calmed down.
God picked up Prahlada and made him sit on his lap and said Dear Prahlada I am very pleased with your unwavering devotion.
Your devotion will be remembered forever. After saying this, the god became enshrined there. And even today we remember Prahlada’s devotion and celebrate Holi for him.
The science behind Holi – The Festivals of colors
We all are also aware of the Legend of demon King Hiranyakashyap and his son Prahlad and sister Holika. I don’t want to repeat that story. Have you ever thought that there could be any scientific reason behind the festivals we celebrate? Here, I intend to trace the science behind the festival of Holi.
Holi is played in the Spring Season which is a period between the end of winter and the advent of summer. We normally go through the transition phase of winter and summer. The period induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body.
When Holika is burnt, the temperature of the nearby area raises around 50-60 degrees Celsius. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrama (going around the bonfire/pyre), the heat coming from the bonfire kills the bacteria in the body and cleanses it.
In some parts of the country, after Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) people put ash on their forehead and also mix Chandan (paste of sandalwood) with the young leaves and flowers of the Mango tree and consume. It is believed to promote good health.
This is the time when people get the feeling of tardiness. This is quite natural for the body to experience some tardiness because of changes in weather from cold to hot in the atmosphere.
To counter this laziness, people sing Songs (Phag, Jogira, etc.) with Dhol, Manjira, and other traditional instruments. This helps in rejuvenating the human body. Their physical movement while playing with colors also helps in the process.
Colors play a vital role in the fitness of the human body. A deficiency of a particular color could cause an ailment and can be cured when that color element is supplemented either through diet or medicine.
In ancient times, when people started playing Holi, the colors used by them were made from natural sources like turmeric, Neem, Palash (Tesu), etc.
The playful pouring and throwing of color powders made from these natural sources have a healing effect on the human body. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it. (by the national council of science museum)
Read here – National Council of Science Museum
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