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Bura Na Mano Holi Hai.................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dr. Pragya Khanna3/20/2019 10:42:43 PM
The most fun-filled, cheerful, lively and vivacious Hindu festival, Holi is celebrated every year on the day after the full moon in early March and glorifies good spring harvest and fertility of the land. To mark the festival people are seen everywhere playing with colors, spouting colored water and balloons on passers-by, soaking friends in mud pool amidst a lot of banter and laughter, while getting intoxicated on bhaang and taking pleasure in each other's company.
Like all Indian festivals, Holi is related to mythical tales. Being an ancient festival it is believed that Holi existed several centuries before Christ. Historians also believe that Holi was celebrated by all Aryans but more so in the Eastern part of India. Nevertheless, the significance of the festival is believed to have changed over the years. Earlier it was a special rite performed by married women for the happiness and well-being of their families and the full moon was worshiped.
According to the references found in the Vedas and Puranas such as Narad Purana and Bhavishya Purana, the festival of Holi finds a mention in Jaimini Mimansa. A stone inscription belonging to 300 BC found at Ramgarh in the province of Vindhya has mention of Holikotsav on it. King Harsha, too has mentioned about holikotsav in his work Ratnavali that was written during the 7th century. The famous Muslim tourist Ulbaruni too has mentioned about holikotsav in his historical memories.
The festival of Holi also finds a reference in the sculptures on walls of old temples. A 16th century panel sculpted in a temple at Hampi, capital of Vijayanagar, shows a blissful scene of Holi.
A Mewar painting (circa 1755) shows the Maharana with his courtiers. While the ruler is bestowing gifts on some people, a merry dance is on, and in the centre is a tank filled with colored water.
In some parts of India, especially in Bengal and Orissa, Holi Purnima is also celebrated as the birthday of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (A.D. 1486-1533). However, the literal meaning of the word 'Holi' is 'burning'. There are different myths to describe the meaning of this word, most famous of all is the legend associated with demon king Hiranyakashyap who wanted one and all in his kingdom to worship only him but to his great distress, his son, Prahlad became a devoted follower of Lord Naarayana. Hiaranyakashyap ordered his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter fire without any damage on herself. However, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. As a result she paid a price for her evil desires, while Prahlad was saved by the grace of the god for his great devotion. The festival, therefore, celebrates the victory of good over evil and also the victory of devotion.
Legend of Lord Krishna is also related to playing with colors as the Lord applied colour on his beloved Radha and other gopis. Gradually, the play gained popularity with the people and became a tradition.
There are also a few other legends associated with the festival like the legend of Shiva and Kaamadeva and those of Ogress Dhundhi and Pootana. All portray victory of good over evil lending a philosophy to the festival.
On the day of the Holi a platter ('thaal') is arranged with colored powders, and colored water is placed in a small brass pot ('lota'). The eldest male member of the family starts the celebrations by sprinkling colors on each member of the family, and the youngsters follow. On the second day of the festival, images of Holika are burnt in keeping with the legend of Prahlad and his devotion to lord Vishnu. In some parts of India, the evening is celebrated by lighting huge bonfires as part of the community celebration when people gather near the fire to fill the air with folk songs and dances. The colourful festival of Holi is celebrated by different names in this vast and culturally diverse country. Great charm and fervour is witnessed in Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Nandgaon, the places associated with the birth and childhood of Lord Krishna. At Barsana Holi assumes the name of Lathmaar Holi. Here, women of Barsana give a tough time to men of Nandgaon as they come to play Holi with them. Women drag the unsuccessful captives, whip them and dress them in female outfits; however all is in the spirit of Holi.
Women of Haryana, particularly the 'bhabhis' too get an upper hand on the day as they get a societal approval to beat their 'devars' and take a sweet retribution for all the naughtiness they have played on them. This revengeful tradition is called the Dulandi Holi.
The most enjoyable tradition of Holi, of course, apart from the play of colours is the tradition of breaking the pot. It is celebrated with much passion in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Here a pot of buttermilk is hung high on the streets. Men form a huge human pyramid and one on the top breaks the pot with his head. All this happens while women keep singing Holi folk songs and throwing buckets and buckets of water. The ritual has its origin in the naughty nature of Lord Krishna who was so fond of butter milk that he used to steal it from every accessible house in the village. To hide the butter from young Krishna, womenfolk used to hang it high. All in vain!
For the Sikh community, Holi is described as the display of their physical strength and military expertise as they gather at Anandpur Sahib a day after Holi to celebrate Hola Mohalla. The tradition was started by the tenth and last guru of Sikh religion, Guru Gobind Singh ji and is being religiously carried forward.
Also, the essence of Holi lies in the tradition of consuming the intoxicating bhang. It is generally consumed with thandai or as pakoras. Other Holi delicacies include gujiya, mathri, malpua, dahi badas, etc. Holi helps to bring the society together and strengthen the secular fabric of our country.
It is interesting to note that biologically the festival of Holi is significant for our lives and body in many other ways than providing joy and fun. Holi comes at a time of the year when the body experiences some lethargy due to the change from the cold to the heat in the atmosphere. To neutralize this tardiness of the body, people sing loudly, make vigorous movements and play loud music. All of this helps to rejuvenate the system of the human body. Besides this, when colours are sprayed on the body they have a great impact. Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it.
In earlier times when festivals were not much business centric Holi colors were prepared from the flowers of trees that blossomed during spring, such as the Indian Coral Tree (Parijat), Palash and the Flame of the Forest (Kesu), all of which have bright flowers. These and several other blossoms provided the raw material from which the brilliant shades of Holi colours were made. Most of these trees also had medicinal properties and Holi colors prepared from them were actually beneficial to the skin. Nowadays, unfortunately the natural colours are replaced by industrial dyes manufactured through chemical processes that have their harmful effects on human body some of which are mentioned below:
Holi festival lovers will be delighted to know that it is possible to make simple natural colors in one's own kitchen keeping the essence of Holi alive and prevent any possible health hazards. Here are some very simple recipes to make natural colours:
However, those who do not have the time to make their own colours, there is the choice of buying natural Holi colours. Several groups are now producing and promoting such colours, although it is important to verify the ingredients of the colours and ensure you know enough about the source.
Have a Colorful Holi!
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