Holi, the festival of colour is the most awaited and celebrated with whole lot of enthusiasm in India. Holi celebrates the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Do we know why do we celebrate Holi?? Even children often ask how did the celebration of this colourful festival start; so to be aware about it and to teach the kids too; let us know about it.
The mythological origins of Holi could be derived from different stories that trace the origin of the festival:
King Hiranyakashipu and his son, Prahlad's story
Holika, Prahlad and Lord Vishnu | Shutterstock
There lived a wicked king named Hiranyakashipu in ancient India. He wanted to avenge the death of his brother who was killed by Lord Vishnu. Unhappy with the death of his brother, he performed severe penance and prayer for many years and was granted a boon. Powered by the boon, Hiranyakashipu thought he had become invincible.
Filled with arrogance he ordered everyone, in his kingdom to worship him instead of Lord Vishnu. However, his son, Prahlad was an ardent devotee of God and continued to worship the Lord.
The king asked his sister Holika who was granted a boon which made her immune to fire to sit in the fire with Prahalad on her lap. But by the grace of Lord Vishnu, Prahlad survived the fire but Holika was consumed in the same fire.
Thus Prahlad, the representative of good triumphed while Holika the symbol of evil was defeated. It is from Holika that Holi originated.
Therefore, we lit huge bonfires every year on the eve of the full moon night to symbolise the burning of Holika and to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Legend of Radha Krishna
Radha Krishna | Flair Glass
Lord Krishna, when he was young, he used to be very upset about his beloved Radha being too fair in comparison to him. Once Lord Krishna complained to her mother Yashoda about Radha’s very fair complexion and questioned about his dark colored-skin. He also felt that nature has done a kind of injustice to him. Yashoda secretly suggested Krishna color Radha’s face playfully with any dark color (blue, violet or purple) of his choice on her white face. Lord Krishna liked this idea of putting color on Radha and hence implemented it.
Thus, the moment when Krishna approached Radha and applied colors on her beautiful face is the start of their love, devotion and companionship and hence marked as Holi.
Legend of Dhundhi
Ogress Dhundhi | Pratha
There was once an Ogress Dhundhi in the kingdom of Raghu who used to eat children. She was made to flee away by a group of boys who were chanting mantras around the fire. From this legend, comes the ritual of a bonfire in the evening of Holi.
It is believed that the bonfire will chase away all the negative energies around.
Story about demoness Pootana
Demoness Pootana and Lord Krishna- Bal avatar | Katha Kids
Kansa was the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna and he wanted to kill Devaki's son Lord Krishna as it was predicted that her son would kill Kansa. So, he sent the demoness Pootana to kill infant Krishna. She changed her appearance and turned into a beautiful lady. She went forward to feed the baby milk from her breasts which had poison in it. Clever Baby Krishna started sucking the blood out of her, revealing her original appearance and then killing her.
On the night before Holi, there is a practice to burn an effigy of demoness Pootana; who nearly killed Lord Krishna. The tradition is symbolic of victory of divinity over demonic forces.
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