Holi: Perfect blend of color and cuisine
Here comes the end of winter, Mother earth all ready to welcome the spring season in the form of celebration of Holi- The festival of colors. Holi is actually a perfect blend of colors and cuisine. People submerge their soul and body in the true colors of Holi to experience the eternal bliss. It’s not only outer physical colors which matter, but it is actually the essence of Indian culture and tradition which gets reflected in the celebration of Holi. Colors of Holi are not biased as to color only the riches and powerful. Rather it is a symbolic representation of integrity and harmony which colors all individuals in one color of love and truth.
Prahlad - Holika
There was one demon King named Hiranyakashyap. He was very rude and egoistic and would not let anybody worship God in his Kingdom. He said, “I am the only God, worship me.” But who can change or stop destiny, his own son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and he denied the worship of his father. The demon tried his best to kill Prahlad several times but he was saved every time by Lord Vishnu. At last, he asked his sister Holika to sit in the fire with Prahlad in his lap. She was blessed with a boon that she won’t be burnt in fire. But, contrary to the fact, Holika was burnt and Prahlad was saved from fire. Holika was unaware with the fact that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad was consistently chanting the name of Lord Vishnu.
The name of this festival Holi has been derived from Holika and it is celebrated every year as a symbol of victory of good over evil. It also gives us message and inspires us to submit all our woes and negativities to the fire of Holika so that we can get freed from negativities.
Another story breeds from history that Lord Krishna of Vrindavan was of very dark complexion and his friend Radha was fair complexioned. Krishna was very jealous of her complexion and complained his mother about the same as to why nature has been so biased to him. His mother laughed first on hearing the innocent complain of his lovely son Krishna. But, later on she advised him to rub any color on the face of Radha which he wanted. In this way you can change the complexion of Radha. Krishna was very mischievous kid. Hence, he applied color on the face of Radha, not only this; he also filled his pichkaris with colors and used it for dampening Radha with colorful water.
Legends tell that this naughty prank of Krishna started the rituals and celebration of Holi.
Legends depict the fact that when consort of Lord Shiva, Sati put herself to fire after his father insulted Lord Shiva, his husband, Shiva was badly disrupted and he renounced the worldly responsibilities and went for infinite meditation and penance.
Meanwhile, Devi Sati took rebirth in the form of Parvati and she started very tough penance to get Lord Shiva as her husband. But, Shiva was very deeply inclined in his meditation and was completely detached from worldly duties which were again a matter of concern for the entire universe as well as all the Gods.
Hence, they approached Kaamdeva for breaking the meditation of Shiva. Kaamdeva is a God of love and passion and he accepted the request of Gods despite being aware of the risk associated with it. When he shot the arrow of love and passion on Shiva, his penance was halted and he boiled with anger, his third eye opened and Kaamdeva was burnt with the immense fire of the third eye. His wife Rati started weeping and pleading Lord Shiva for mercy so that she can get her husband back. Shiva, who is known for his mercy, gave back the life of Kaamdeva and he took rebirth in the form of son of Lord Krishna and Rukmini in Dwapar era.
In southern region of India, Kaamdeva is worshipped on the auspicious day of Holi for his incredible sacrifice. People offer sandalwood paste to soothe the burns of Kaamdeva and mango blossoms which is loved by him. Painful songs are also sung wherein the sorrow of Rati is depicted. Holi is also known as Kamvilas, Kam-Dahanam and Kaman Pandigai.
Holi is celebrated on full moon day of Phalgun month every year in India. Holi is synonymous with colors and sumptuous cuisine. It is generally celebrated for 2 days. First day is celebrated as Holika Dahan. People gather together round a bonfire which is symbolic of destruction of evil (Holika). This is also symbolic inspiration for us which tells us to submit all of our woes and negativities in the fire. The second day is celebrated by the prominence and spirit of colors. People throw dry color and colored water on each other. This festival also brings mouthwatering and sumptuous dishes along with like traditional Gujhia(sweet of flour and khoya), thandai with bhang, Dahi bhalla etc. one can see multicolored children running with pichkaris in their hands. People visit each other’s houses, greet them and exchange gifts.
Lathmaar Holi of Barsane is very famous and unique. Womenfolk are over charged today and they chase men with wooden sticks who come from Nandgaon to play Holi with these women. Men really have to work very hard to protect themselves. It seems love and eternal beauty gets dissolved in the air of Barsane during Holi. Every man becomes Krishna and every woman is Radha.
This is the specialty of India; every festival has got a related message along with. Holi preaches mankind that we all are equal by our soul, only bodies are different. It inspires us to keep away from biases and quarrels. If you get a chance to visit India, and see any painting or drama of Radha- Krishna, you will be astonished by the magnitude of beauty, depth of love and level of bliss that is reflected there. By means of Holi, Krishna tries to show us a path of love, affection and celebration. Actually, life itself is a grand celebration of soul, Krishna preaches us that we should celebrate every moment of the life with the zeal of festival.
Submerge your soul in eternal colors of love, taste the flavor of traditional food made by loving mothers, worship God for well being of everyone and keep spreading colors of happiness and love ever after.