Holi is celebrated in entire India by people from all religions with great enthusiasm and love. It is one of the most popular and celebrated festival in India and basically belongs to Hindu religion. It is also widely known as ‘Festival of Colors’ since this day people put colors on each other in a healthy manner just for happiness and fun sake. Holi has got many legends associated with it. This is such a festival which is not only celebrated in India but also in some other countries with full eagerness and interest.

Basically, this festival comes in the month of March (sometimes February) every year. As per Hindu calendar, this festival is celebrated on the day of Phalguna Purnima which is the day of Full Moon. In Maharashtra, this festival is known as Rangpanchami or Shimga.

Significance of Holi

Holi has a deep significance in India, not only for Hindu religion but also for all other religions. Holi gets everyone close to their religion and ancient mythology as this festival is basically the merriment of diverse legends that are associated with it. Irrespective of socio-cultural or religious diversification, this festival brings people from all tribes, religions, castes and ages close to each other since everyone on this day is celebrating this festival with each other with full gladness and contentment.

Reason of Celebrating Holi

The festival of Holi is associated with an ancient legend of Prahlad and his father Hiranyakshyap. As per legend, Hiranyakshyap was a powerful but cruel devil king and used to consider himself as God who ordered everyone to worship him as God. But Prahlad, his son, began to worship Lord Vishnu, the Hindu deity. Hiranyakshyap decided to get rid of Prahlad and asked Holika, his sister to go into a burning fire while having Prahlad in her lap. It is said that Holika was blessed with a boon from God to enter blazing fire unharmed. According to legends, to Hiranyakshyap’s ire, Prahlad got saved from fire while Holika burned down in the fire. Prahlad was saved due to his tremendous devotion for the God. That is why, the tradition 'Holika Dahan' means burning Holika is celebrated in Holi.

Holi is also celebrated as a testimony of great love of Radha-Krishna. It is said that, Krishna applied colors on Radha and other Gopis and from there, the tradition of applying color on Holi got started. Two more legends are associated with Holi as per which this day is celebrated as death day of devil Pootana who tried to kill Lord Krishna with her poisonous milk when he was an infant. According to second legend, this day, especially in Southern India, is celebrated as a memorable day of sacrifice of Lord of Passion, Kaamadeva who sacrificed his life for the purpose of revoking back Lord Shiva from his meditation, only to save the world.

Tradition on Holi

The general tradition on Holi is of applying colors on each other. Holi is celebrated dry as well as wet. In dry Holi, people make use of colors only while in wet Holi, both colors and water are used. With some mishaps occurring in recent years, government now request people to celebrate dry Holi only. Another tradition is of ‘Holika Dahan’ which is celebrated the night before Holi by people with their family and friends.

Information Essential for Tourist

Holi is a festival which is celebrated almost in each and every region of India. This festival is worth a watch to enjoy but tourists should be careful since some people go beyond the limit while celebrating it by making use of eggs, oils and other bad things instead of colors and water. Moreover, proper care should be provided to the choice of colors. Only natural or Ayurvedic colors should be used else it can harm the skin.

Holi in Maharashtra is worth a watch due to ‘Matki Tod’ tradition.

Way of Celebrating Holi in Different States of India

Usually, the basic way of celebrating Holi is same – with colors but some states also have some additional traditions associated with it. For example, people of Haryana and Mathura, Vrindavan celebrate this festival by women beating (in a healthy manner) the men with some Lath (wood) calling it Lath-Maar Holi while Sikh people celebrate it as Hola Mohalla while portraying their strength.

In Bengal, it is celebrated as Basant Utsav (Spring Festival) and great decoration is done during this festival there. The most favorite one is ‘Matki Tod’ (breaking a pot) Holi and is widely celebrated in Maharashtra and Gujarat along with some other areas of India. A group of people break the pot that is hung quite high. Different Indian states celebrate it with color and a special personal touch of their local tradition.

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