Holika or Holi for short is the Festival of Color. It marks the end of the nippy winter months and the beginning of spring. This festival comes during the full moon in the Hindu month of Phagan, in February or March.
Traditions and customs:
- smearing coloured powder on each other
- throwing colored and scented water
- public bonfire
This is a day to forget your worries.
Color can be found everywhere.
Colored powders and colored water are thrown on everyone.
Singing and dancing and festive parties are popular.
Holika and Pralhad
According to legend Hirankashyap was a very powerful and evil king. He demanded that no one pray to Lord Vishnu and that they only pray to him. In fear, people did as he bid. However, his son Pralhad was devoted to Lord Vishnu and would not abide by his father’s rules. To discipline him Hirankashyap ordered harsh and cruel punishments, yet no harm came to Pralhad. Finally, Holika (Hirankashyap sister), who was immune to the harms of fire, was ordered to sit on a bed of flames with Pralhad on her lap. Holika was burnt, but Pralhad survived unharmed. As Holika lay dying she begged Pralhad for forgiveness. Pralhad forgave her and deemed that one day a year would be to remember her. To commemorate “Holi” large bonfires burn and people say a prayer to “Holi” for well-being.
Krishna and Radha
Holi is also associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. A young Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about having such a dark complexion compared to his love Radha who was so fair. Yashoda told him to apply color to Radha’s face and see what would happen. Today, celebrations start early in Nandagaon, where Lord Krishna grew up. Men from Nandagaon raid nearby Barsana (where Radha grew up) with hopes of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple. The women of Barsana “beat” the raiders with long wooden sticks. This is a mock battle and the men are well-padded as they try to evade capture. If captured the men are forced to dress as women, paint their faces, and dance!
Use the navigation area on the left to find crafts and recipes for Holi.