Holi, known as the ‘festival of colours’ is celebrated on the full moon day falling in the Hindu calendar month of Phalgun. It is referred to as the Spring Festival bringing hope & joy after a long cold winter. Nature too wears its most colourful cover at Holi with flowers blooming. The word Holi comes from the word “Hola” which means to offer prayers to the gods for good harvest.
As per Hindu mythology, demon King Hiranyakashyap demanded everybody to worship him. However his son, Prahlad, being a devotee of Vishnu, refused to do so. Angered he asked his sister Holika to kill Pralhad by burning him in a fire. However, Lord Vishnu saved Prahlad and surprisingly burnt Holika to ashes although she was known to be immune to fire.. A bonfire is lit on the eve of Holi, called Holika celebrates this victory of good over evil. According to another South Indian legend, Holi is celebrated in commemoration of the sacrifice Kamadeva made to save the world from destruction by risking his life by disturbing Lord Shiva in meditation.
The festival also known as Rang Panchami is celebrated by throwing coloured powder and water. Legends say that Krishna feared that Radha would not love him because of his blue skin. However, lovingly, Radha allowed him to smear her skin with colour powder, making them a true couple. Earlier, colours were made from the powdered flower petals with each colour having its own significance; Red (love and fertility), Yellow (hope), Blue (purity of God Krishna) and Green for new beginnings.
The onset of spring as a victory of good over evil, gives old and young a reason for rejoicing, merry making in the spirit of Holi.