During Holi, a colourful cloud lingers over the people of India. This is celebrated in the month of Phalguna which is the period from mid-February to mid-March as per the Hindu calendar. On the eve of Holi when a full moon lights up the sky, Holika Dahan also known as Kamudu pyre is celebrated by burning wood and cow dung. The bonfire symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Why do we celebrate Holi?
As per mythology, Hiranyakashipu, the older brother of Hiranyaksha wanted to avenge the death of his brother who was killed by Lord Vishnu. For this reason he went to the Himalayas and meditated for several years. Lord Brahma was pleased by his devotion and granted him a wish. Hiranyakashipu asked for immortality. He asked that no God, man or beast should be able to kill him. Now that he was indestructible, he knew nothing could stop him. He wanted people to worship him and no other God, especially Lord Vishnu.
However, despite his best efforts, nothing could shake the devotion of his son, Prahlada towards Lord Vishnu. He coaxed and coerced Prahlada but was unsuccessful. Poison, starvation, enchantments, enraged elephants all proved to be failed attempts to kill his son. At last, he asked his demoness sister, Holika to sit in the bonfire with his son Prahlad in her lap. She had a cloak which could protect her from the flames. So she wrapped herself in that protective cloak and sat in the bonfire with her nephew. Prahlad kept chanting the mantras of Lord Vishnu. Suddenly the wind blew the cloak from Holika onto Prahlad which saved him but burnt Holika. Hence, a bonfire is lit to remind us of the undying devotion of Prahlada towards Lord Vishnu.
It is believed that Lord Krishna celebrated Holi with colours at Vrindavan. And known for his notorious nature, Lord Krishna and his friends played pranks across the village and made it a community event. To this day, Holi brings people together.
Did you know there is scientific reason behind celebrating Holi Festival?
As we transition from winter to summer season, there is an increase in the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When the bonfire is lit during Holika Dahan, the temperature of the place rises. When people perform the Parikrama i.e. they go around the bonfire, the heat from the bonfire kills the bacteria in the body and cleanses it.
You must be wondering,“What role does colour play in Holi celebration?”
Colours bring the world around us to life. It spreads joy and speaks of beauty. It leaves a long lasting impression on our mind. Different colours signify a different feeling.
Colours play an important role in the vitality of the body and can have a healing effect. Traditionally Holi was celebrated with dry natural colours known as ‘Gulal.’ It strengthens the immunity of the body in addition to its aesthetic appeal. It is best to opt for organic colours or try your hands at a DIY project. However, this has been replaced with synthetic colours. You can make your own colours with ingredients found in the kitchen and refrigerator or opt for flowers and plants grown in your garden.
Here’s how you can make your own DIY Colours
To make your own colours you can use the following ingredients:
- Green: Spinach leaves, mehendi and herbs
- Yellow: Turmeric, marigold and sunflower
- Red: Dried hibiscus flower, pomegranate and red sandalwood
- Orange: Mix yellow and red colours
- Purple: Beetroot and black grapes
- Brown: Dried tea leaves
Tips: Before and after playing Holi
- Apply moisturizer on the body.
- Oil your hair and scalp.
- Wear dark coloured full sleeves clothing.
- Don’t wear lenses. Use sun glasses to protect your eyes.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Use cream based cleanser or baby oil to remove the colour from your skin.
- Don’t rub your skin too much if the colour doesn’t go easily.
- Don’t use very hot water as it will dehydrate the skin.
- Contact your doctor if you develop rashes.
Wishing you happy Holi!!