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Holi: Festival of Colours

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Holi

Don’t you feel cheerful being present in a colorful environment enjoying colors, playing loud, applying well-flavored face paintings and eating toothy foods? Well, your answer is sure to positive. But did you know that Hindu people have their own festival called Holi where they exchange colors, love, and cheerfulness? Of course, you might be unaware of it. However, now you come to know about this cheerful festival then why not go detail about it? Did you know Holi is also known as "festival of colors"? 

Well, now you know that Holi is a festival of Hindus but don’t get worried if you are not one. This festival has got global recognition as well. Nowadays, people across the world play Holi. So you are not offending any of your religious rules, norms, and values. However, it doesn't mean that you must celebrate Holi but for your information, it is a quite enjoyable festival with a divine kind of legends behind it.

 Now, if you are really urged or keenly interested to know about Holi or to celebrate it you must know when should you celebrate this festival. Or do you know the appropriate date and time to celebrate this amazing festival? Don’t worry if you don’t. This festival is celebrated on the day of Falgun Purnima that basically occurs in Falgun or Chaitra (Falgun Shukla Paksha) of Nepalese Bikram Sambat Calendar and in the month of March (sometimes February or April too) in the Gregorian calendar.
Holi
 But you might be surprised to know that, although this festival occurs for one day, in most of the places with Hindu residence have a tradition of celebrating it for two days however the ways of celebration differs with respect to religion. Again if you want to play Holi to its full form and full tradition then you must probably come to Nepal or India because these two nations are the place where Holi is played by the majority of people. 

Also, the festival is believed to be originated from the Indian subcontinent that indirectly reveals it origination from Nepal and India. However, it is predominantly played in various other nations such as Trinidad and Tobago, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Indonesia, Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana and other parts of Asia along with some parts of the western world like U.S, U.K, Germany and so on
So, starting with Nepalese celebration, Nepalese people celebrate Holi for two days. First day for hilly and Himalayan region whereas the second day for Terai region. 

You may be glad to know that Holi in Nepal is celebrated in a very wonderful, glorious and organized way. Inside Kathmandu valley, Holi is celebrated on the first day where people conduct and run various creative, awesome and enjoyable programs, concerts and events where a huge number of people's presentation is seen. 

Similarly, different NGO´s and INGO´s and other organizations conduct the different competition in school and campus level for the development of students. Similarly, traditionally people celebrate this festival by bonfires in some hilly places and exchanging colors with each other. Children can be popularly seen inroads with their face covered with different colors carrying water guns (Pichkaaris) in their hands. 

And a similar kind of celebrations is to be seen in the Terai region. Here, people wander from their houses to their neighbors and exchange colors, spray colored water, throw water balloons (also known as Lola in local language) and play different local games or enjoy doing other works. You might find it perfect to know that exchanging colors is believed to be the causative agent of taking all the sorrows, sadness, and grief from human life and bringing the lights, the message of happiness and success, cheerfulness, good health, and long life, peace, and awesomeness in life. 

But, the main problem that this festival creates is getting sloppy drunk and disturbing society´s blissful movement. People have also developed the tradition of mixing bhang (a drug manufactured from cannabis) in their foods and drinks and having them considering as Prasad which in modern times have resulted to be the cause of gang fights, rapes, loss of money and social prestige and social disturbance.

Well in the context of India if we see we find some differences between the way of observances of Holi in different parts of it. In some states people Holi by a burning bonfire on the first day and playing colors in the second day whereas in other places people exchange color between their relatives and neighbor as a symbol of gratitude, love, and respect. 
Holi-festival

This is the reason why the festival is also popularly known as the “festival of love”. Really Holi is a great festival that spreads happiness and satisfaction all over society. If I talk about the way of celebration in Assam, then it is found that people burn clay statues and huts considering it as the legends or a part of furious demon Holika. On the second day, they celebrate Holi with colors and songs, Bhajans and Kirtans devoted to Lord Krishna.  

Wow! Did you notice? They play songs related and devoted to Lord Krishna. It surely means that most of the people living in the area celebrated Holi following the legends of Lord Krishna. It is found that people in those are called Holi festival as Phakwa or Dol Jatra which is related to Satras of Barpeta.

If you see people in Bihar people celebrate Holi following the legends of Holika. People here mostly use the Bhojpuri language therefore call Holi festival as Phagwa. People here light bonfires where they keep unwanted, old things clothes, dung cakes, woods, and freshly harvested grains. You may find surprising that people do this because they believe that lighting bonfire and by burning old objects brings newness and happiness in life. The bonfire starts when purohit or the eldest member of the society throw color on the pyre as a mark of goodness and happiness. Similar to the people of Assam people here also throw color the second day.

Well, not Only two mentioned above but also in other places you find differences in the way of celebration as like in Gujarat where people have handi food competition during Holi. This competition is a game where a mud made pot is hanged high in the street filled with milk. Boys or male members of the society have to reach to the pot first and destroy it to be the champion whereas girls or female members are supposed to distract or provide a hurdle for male members by throwing water balloons to them. 

To reach the pot males members make a human pyramid. This game undoubtedly makes clear that people here follow the legends of Holi because Lord Krishna is believed to steal buttermilk and Nauni (milk cream) by making a small hole through pebbles from the Gopini’s pots where Gopinis always try to stop him and his friends.

As in other parts of India, some people celebrate it by calling it as Dhuleti or Rangwali Holi as well as Sigmo or Ukkuli with an enormous amount of Joy, recreation and enjoyment. In some place, people go to temples and pray to god and worship and in some places, they play different beautiful folk songs and dance and so on. Generally, most of the places both India and Nepal Holi is celebrated for two days where people light bonfires on the first day and play colors on the second day.
Holi-Colours

However, you have been reading only about India and Nepal from the beginning you might not know that Holi is also celebrated in foreign countries. But the celebration varies between Hindus and Foreigners. In the US, Holi is generally celebrated or played in temples or cultural places where people gather. They play Holi with the temple devotees that visit the places.

Indonesians style of playing Holi is similar to that of Nepal where they play with colors and joy. However, a minority of people in countries like Trinidad and Tobago, Sao Tome, and Principe, Australia, and Mauritius have their own distinct style of celebrating Holi festival.

Well, you have been reading about colors the whole article today but do you know what type of color is used? Kindly, there are some traditional colors used to play Holi. Yes, there are ancient colors used each year to paly Holi MADE FROM DIFFERENT HERBS AND LOCALLY AVAILABLE PLANTS.  

Ancient people say that the traditional color is manufactured from Haldi (Turmeric), Kumkum rose, Palas, Mehendi, and Beetroot. Traditionally, Orange, Red, Yellow, Blue, Indigo, Brown and other rainbow colors are used. But nowadays some synthetic colors are also used which is very hazardous to human health. In comparison, synthetic colors have a more harmful impact on skin and alimentary canals. 

They probably spoil the quality of the skin and the internal body organs are highly affected due to the colors manufactured by mixing a lot of chemicals (synthesized chemicals). Severe headache, Fever, common cold resulting in dangerous diseases like Typhoid, Cholera, Jaundice, eye irritation, nasal blockage due to colors in the nose are some of the common adverse outcomes of Holi festival. Besides the adverse outcomes of Holi festival also includes the harmful impact of Bhaang (cannabis) that was mentioned earlier in this article.

Once upon a time, there was an evil atheist King named Hiranya Kashyapu. He had a blessing of not being killed by any man, woman, animal, god or demon in the universe. Therefore being arrogant for his blessings he started thinking himself as a god of the universe. As a result, the widespread terrorism, conflict and miser ability among all the three worlds. Everyone was much worried about him and his power and started worshipping him.

 But his son Prahlad was a full devotee of Lord Vishnu and he always worshipped Lord Vishnu which was not digested by his father Hiranyakashyapu. So he tries a lot to convince his son to not to worship Lord Vishnu but he was failed. As a result, then, he decided to kill his son. He tried a lot from different means and resources to kill him but was always failed because he was protected by Lord Vishnu each time. 

Then he called Holika a wicked Demon who was blessed to not to be burnt by fire. So he kept Prahlad and Holika in a pyre and fired it. Opposite to Hiranyakashyapu’s whims, Holika was burnt alive and Prahlad was saved again by his god, Lord Vishnu. So considering the victory of truth Holi festival is celebrated.

According to Hindu mythology, there is another legend that represents Lord Krishna. It is believed that Krishna turned into the black in color when he was fed milk by Pootna. So, His partner Radha who didn’t like his color much was offered to put any color she wanted. So as she did and they played with colors with each other Holi festival is celebrated.

Authored by: Shlok Koirala

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