Why Holi is Celebrated? - Real Story Behind it.

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Why is Holi Celebrated?


Holi is one of the foremost vital festivals celebrated in India (Bharat).

It is celebrated choked with enthusiasm on the day of the full moon (Purnima), within the month of March (Phalgun).

The Holi Pageant can be celebrated in different regions with different names and cultures but, what makes Holi so different and so special is the spirit of this festival that continues to be equivalent all over the world, no matter where it is celebrated.

Holi is one of the oldest Hindu festivals that has been popular with non-Hindus as well in many parts of the world.

Let's find out now the story behind the celebration of this festival.

Story Behind Holi Celebration


Story 1: The first story is about Holika and Prahlad. 

According to many Hindu traditions, Holi commemorates the death of Holika who died in order to kill Prahlad, and we can notice where Holi got his name from. 

The night before Holi, pyres of North India were burned in accordance with this custom. It should also be noted that in some areas of India, the day is actually called Holika and the required custom of burning pyres is termed Holika Dahan.

There are other works related to Prahlad's story, but the burning of Holika is the one that we can most directly associate with Holi. 

Now what is this story behind Holi? 

According to the Bhagavata Purana (A spiritual book of Hinduism), there was once a demon-possessed king named Hiranyakashipu, who sought immortality. 

So, to fulfill this desire, he made necessary penances until he was blessed by Brahma (the Hindu god of creation, knowledge, and Vedas, best known as the creator of this world). 

Since the gods seldom offered immortality, he used his guile and cunning ideas to obtain blessings that he thought would keep him immortal. 

Although the different Puranas have different tellings of blessing, here is what we will talk about the most famous one. 

Hiranyakashipu asked Brahma five special powers: 

 1. He couldn't be killed by a human being or an animal. 

 2. He couldn't be killed indoors or outdoors. 

 3. He couldn't be killed at day or night. 

 4. He couldn't be killed by Astra (projectile weapons) or by any Shastra (handheld weapons) 

 5. He couldn't be killed on land or in water or air. 

Given this desire, Hiranyakashipu felt invincible, and he became arrogant. 

He decided that worship should be directed only to him as God. 

He ordered his army to punish and kill anyone who disobeys his commands. 

But his own son Prahlad disagreed and refused to worship him as a god. 

He continued to believe in and serve Lord Vishnu (the Hindu god of preservation, reality). 

This infuriated Hiranyakashipu and he made numerous attempts to assassinate his son Prahlad. 

During one of Prahlad's lifelong endeavors, King Hiranyakashipu enlisted the help of his sister Holika. 

Holika wore a special dress that kept her from getting hurt by the fire. 

Hiranyakashipu asked him to stay in the burning fire with Prahlad, by tricking the boy into sitting on his lap. 

However, as the fire raged, the dress flew from Holika and covered Prahlad. Holika died and Prahlad came out uninjured. 

The story is known as Holika Dahan (Holika's death), which signifies the victory of good over evil. 

Holika is associated with the annual bonfire on the night before Holi (A Hindu festival of colors).

Story 2: The second story is associated with the immortal love of Radha and Krishna. 

It was Krishna, king of Dwarka, who hailed Holi's culture. 

The origin of Holi's colorful and playful tone lies in Krishna's youth. 

Kansa, king of Vrishni, and Krishna's uncle saw danger in his life from his nephew when he was older. 

Kansa sent a demon to Pootna, disguised as a woman, to poison Baby Krishna under the guise of breastfeeding. 

Baby Krishna sucks not only the poisonous milk but also the blood of Pootna, transforming her into a demon. 

She ran and burst into flames while the infant Krishna transitioned into his characteristic dark blue skin color. 

The day before Phagwah is celebrated by burning Putna. According to the tales, in his youth, Krishna was sad about fair-skinned Radha. 

He also doubted whether Radha or other Gopis would like him because of his dark skin. 

His mother, exhausted, asked him to go to Radha and color her face in any color she wanted. Krishna did this, and he and Radha became couple. 

The playful color of Radha's face, henceforth, has been celebrated as Holi. 

This 'Holi' play of Krishna and Radha and Gopis is well documented in hundreds of ancient paintings, walls, and inscriptions.

Story 3: There is another story behind Holi that involves a burning sacrifice for love which is the story of Shiva and Kamadev. 

Before Shiva (the Hindu god of destruction) married the goddess Parvati (the Hindu goddess who was Shiva's wife), Kamadeva (A Hinduism God of Love) and his wife Rati (the Hindu goddess of Love) tried to help Goddess Parvati win Shiva as her husband. 

Kamadev shot his arrow at Shiva to disrupt his meditation, causing him to marry Parvati. But the disturbance caused Shiva to open his third eye and his powerful eye burned Kamadeva to ashes and his wife Rati was heart-broken. 

Although we do not know whether the arrow worked or not, but Shiva and Parvati got married. At their wedding, Rati begged Shiva to return Kamadev to her. Shiva agreed and returned to Kamadeva as a visual image with real feelings. 

Seeing this, all the gods and goddesses cast colors from heaven. Thus, Holi, the hindu festival of colours is been celebrated.

Story 4: Birthday of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 

In other parts of India, especially in Bengal and Orissa, Holi Purnima is also celebrated as the birthday of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

This is not the end. If you have anything to add to this post, please comment in the comment box below. We will add it to this.

This article is licensed under CC BY 3.0 US by Madan Mohan d/b/a loudstudy.com.
 
Changes Made: Video translation to American English text and modified for readability.

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