HAPPY HOLI!!!!!!

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The festival of Holi can be regarded as a celebration of the Colors of Unity & Brotherhood – an opportunity to forget all differences and indulge in unadulterated fun. It has traditionally been celebrated in high spirit without any distinction of cast, creed, color, race, status or sex. It is one occasion when sprinkling colored powder (‘gulal’) or colored water on each other breaks all barriers of discrimination so that everyone looks the same and universal brotherhood is reaffirmed. This is one simple reason to participate in this colorful festival.

Let’s learn more about its history and significance…

What is ‘Phagwah’?
‘Phagwah’ is derived from the name of the Hindu month ‘Phalgun’, because it is on the full moon in the month of Phalgun that Holi is celebrated. The month of Phalgun ushers India in Spring when seeds sprout, flowers bloom and the country rises from winter’s slumber.

Meaning of ‘Holi’
‘Holi’ comes from the word ‘hola’, meaning to offer oblation or prayer to the Almighty as Thanksgiving for good harvest. Holi is celebrated every year to remind people that those who love God shall be saved and they who torture the devotee of God shall be reduced to ashes a la the mythical character Holika.

The Legend of Holika
Holi is also associated with the Puranic story of Holika, the sister of demon-king Hiranyakashipu. The demon-king punished his son, Prahlad in a variety of ways to denounce Lord Narayana. He failed in all his attempts. Finally, he asked his sister Holika to take Prahlad in her lap and enter a blazing fire. Holika had a boon to remain unburned even inside fire. Holika did her brother’s bidding. However, Holika’s boon ended by this act of supreme sin against the Lord’s devotee and was burnt to ashes. But Prahlad came out unharmed.

The Krishna Connection
Holi is also associated with the Divine Dance known as Raaslila staged by Lord Krishna for the benefit of his devotees of Vrindavan commonly known as Gopis.

Holi in Mathura-Vrindavan

 

 

People from all corners of India, rather, world gather at Mathura-Vrindavan every year to feel the essence of Holi in the land of Krishna. People relive the legends of Holi associated with Radha and Krishna and play pranks the young Krishna played with the cowgirls called gopis. The underlying feeling of this fun-frolic was love and devotion. Even today, romance can be experienced in the very atmosphere in the Krishna-nagari. One just needs to breathe in this air and drench oneself in the feeling of love and romance. Myriad colours of Holi are simply a facade on this.

Celebrations Continue for a Week
With an immensely strong bonding with Lord Krishna, people of Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate Holi for over a week. Each major Krishna temple celebrates Holi on a different day.

Of immense interest for the tourist is the celebrations which take place at the famous Bakai-Bihari Temple at Vrindavan. Drenched in the colours of Holi people can be found totally immersed in the spirit of devotion here.

Another interesting place for Holi celebrations is Gulal-Kund in Braj; a beautiful little lake near Govardhan mountain. Here, the festival is commemorated on a more regular basis. Pilgrims can see the re-enactments of Holi throughout the year at this lake. Local boys, acting in the Krishna-Lila drama troupes re-enact the scenes of Holi for the pilgrims.

So much is the passion of the people here, that they throng these temples every day and get drenched in coloured water…all in the name of the Lord they love so much.

The Legend
The tradition of playing colours on Holi draws its roots from a legend of Radha and Krishna. It is said that young Krishna was jealous of Radha’s fair complexion since he himself was very dark. He narrated his woe to mother Yashoda, who teasingly asked him to colour Radha’s face in which ever colour he wanted. In a mischievous mood, Krishna applied colour on Radha’s face. The tradition of applying colour on one’s beloved is being religiously followed till date.

 

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