The Festival of Colours
Holi is a popular, religious festival that is celebrated by Hindus. It is often referred to as the ‘festival of colours’ because of the famous ritual that it has bore. It originated in India and is celebrated near the end of the winter season, on the last day of the lunar month. This usually falls in late February, or early March. Holi is a celebration of various legends, such as the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap. It stated that there was once a demon king named Hiranyakshyap who wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship only him, and no one else. But when his son, Prahlad, became an ardent devotee of Lord Naaryana, king Hiranyashyap commanded his sister to enter into a blazing fire with Prahlad on her lap. Holika would not get harmed, for she had a boon nearby which would allow her to enter the fire without getting burned. Little did she know, the boon would only work if she were to enter the fire alone. So, Holika pays the ultimate price of death for her sinister desires and Prahlad is saved from the holy grace of the gods. (http://www.holifestival.org/history-of-holi.html) This legend symbolizes the victory of ‘good’ over ‘evil’, and how this festival celebrates that triumph is by putting your differences aside for a couple of days and uniting with the people around you. It also ties into one of the rituals that Holi celebrates. The rituals that are associated with Holi are the preparations, the Holika Dahan bonfire, the Matka ceremony, and the splash of colours. All four rituals are very important to the culture and meaning that Holi portrays. The preparations include: people gathering wood for the annual bonfire called Holika, preparing the body paint that will be used for the splash of colours, and to start cooking the delicious, traditional foods that make this festival all the more enjoyable. After all the preparations are finished, people wait for the eve of Holi, to celebrate the Holika Dahan ceremony....
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