Holi Hai!


The festival of colours, HOLI, is an ancient festival and is celebrated at the end of winter, or on the 14th day of PHALGUNA.

The literal meaning of HOLI is “burning” (DAHAN).  Originally, HOLI was known as HOLIKA, indicating the relation of the festival to “HOLIKA – DAHAN”.  Though there are a number of legends associated with HOLI, the most famous of all is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap.
King Hiranyakashyap had instructed all the people of his kingdom to worship only him and none other.  But his son Prahlad became a devotee of Lord Vishnu.  Despite his best efforts to distract Prahlad from the path of devotion, Prahlad refused to worship Hiranyakashyap.  Enraged by Prahlad’s devotion and his own failure, the King instructed his sister Holika to enter the fire with Prahlad.  Holika had a boon to endure the effects of fire without causing any harm to her.  While Prahlad was saved by the grace of the Almighty, Holika, despite her boon, died because of her evil motives.

Holi / Festival of Colors 2013

HOLI marks the victory of good over evil, and it is customary to celebrate HOLI with a bonfire.  HOLI celebrations start  the night before HOLI with a Holika bonfire, where people gather, sing and dance.  The festival, therefore, symbolises the DAHAN (burning) of hatred, anger, enmity, jealousy, greed and other ills of life.  It is also the day to forgive others and to forget all kinds of past conflicts and errors.

Holi Festival

HOLI is the festival of new beginnings.  It celebrates the beginning of spring when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest.  It is all the more reason to rejoice and celebrate HOLI.  Spring is the season of colours and so is the festival of HOLI.

It is the day when people throw colours, especially GULAL, which symbolises happiness and love.  The legend of Radha and Krishna is associated with playing with colours and the festival of gulal comes to its full form in Mathura and Vrindavan.
The Sacred Guru Granth advises Sikhs to play a pure HOLI by immersing themselves in NAMSIMRAN.

Holi celebrations worldwide

“I am imbued with the deep crimson colour of the Lord’s Divine Love; my mind and body have blossomed forth in utter incomparable beauty,” says the Guru.  Sikhs celebrate HOLA MOHALLA { HOLA means HALLA (attack) and MOHALLA implies an organised procession in the form of an army column } at Anandpur Sahib in a three-day celebration marked by shabad-kirtan, langar, processions and poetry recitals.

———–  Kulbir Kaur.                  

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