Why Holi is Celebrated using Colors?

Holi – the festival of colors is one of the biggest Hindu Spring Festival. It is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil, arrival of spring season, and for some it is a day to meet family and friends and spread happiness. Holi is a day to forget all our troubles and worries, forgive our foes, mend broken relationship, laugh and have fun. Every house, street, and city looks so colorful. The colors of Holi bring in love and joy, taking away all our sorrows and making our life vibrant as a rainbow.It is two day festival where the first eveningfollows a religious tradition called as HolikaDahanand the next day is marked as the festival of colors. Holi starts with HolikaDahan where people perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire.Lighted bonfire has its true story which is described in detail in Hindu myths like in BhagvataPuran. Raw mango, grains, dates, corns, coconuts are offered during Holi rituals and then ‘Holi Parikrama’ – circling around the bonfire is done. While circling around the bonfire they offer their prayers to destroy their inner evil and to make them a better person.

On the next day, people celebrate the festival by applying colors, throwing water balloons, and spraying with water guns, on each other. On this day people forget their enmity and make friends by building strong relationships with love, hope, and faith. They enjoy the festival with music, dance, and delicacies such as Gujiya, Rabri Malpua, PuranPoli, Kachori, and Thandai. Apart from many people who enjoy playing with colors, there are few who are scared of colors and they look for places to hide themselves.You all must be aware of the ritual of Holi and the stories related to it but, do you know why we celebrate Holi by throwing colors. There are several beliefs regarding the throwing of colors on people and enjoying the festival with a great sparkle.

The first belief is related to the story of Prahlad and Holika. As per the story, Prahlad was tricked by his evil auntHolika, to sit on the bonfire.Holika was wearing a cloak to prevent her from the fire, but the cloak flew and wrapped Prahlad.As Prahlad was heartily devoted to Lord Vishnu,the fire didn’t harm him at all but Holika was ablaze in the bonfire. Holika was Hiranyakashyap’s (father of Prahlad) sister and asura who were against the worship of Lord Vishnu. But finally truth and faith conquer on the devil.  The next day people admired the victory of good over evil by applying Holika’s ashes on their forehead.Later this wascelebrated using natural colors like Soil, Turmeric, Kumkum, Gulal, Mehandi, etc. and with this the trends switched to applying colors on each other’s face.

Some people relate with Radha and Krishna Leela. Radhaor Radharaniwas Lord Krishna’s love and she was very fair and beautiful, whereas Lord Krishna was dark in color and was also called as Shyam.Radhaalong with her friends used to tease Krishna for his color. One day Lord Krishna’s mother Yashoda offered him some natural colors and told him to apply on Radha’s face just to please Krishna. And this way, the color difference among them was vanished. Now they both looked alike and the system of teasing was gone. So, from that time onwards the custom of playing Holi with friends,begun.

Rather than these traditional reasons, medical reasons are also believed to be beneficial when playing Holi with colors. Holi comes with the ending of winter and arrival of spring. This change in seasons brings along different illness and health issues which are quite normal these days but in olden days they weren’t curable. Due to this, people made fine powder of neem, turmeric, sandalwood, mehandi, and applied on their body. But this was not possible on any regular day sothey decided to do on the day of Holi, the next day of bonfire. They believed after enlightening the bonfire all the germs would be killed in the fire, and on next day they would protect their body with different natural ingredients to resist germs.

There might be different reasons to celebrate the festival of Holi, but playing with colors all over is the same. This brings people closer to each other. People get excitedto celebrate this festival and plan ahead and make preparation of colors before two days. Children play ahead of time with their school friends as schools are closed on this day, and they don’t want to miss a chance to color their friends.The Holi celebration begins by applying tilak (mark on forehead) to the elders of the family and then the fun begins and continues the whole day.

Now a days, this celebration has become a source of income for the sellers as everyone are getting away from using natural colors and are eager to buy synthetic dye colors. These colors are harmful to skin and eyes. So we all should understand the value of natural colors and play with natural and organiccolors which are easily washable and harmless to our skin. Also, avoid wasting water while playing Holi.

Wishing you all a very Happy and Colorful Holi!