Holi the festival of colors, is celebrated on March 8. Indian children with their families are celebrating this festival which unites people every year and brings joy and laughter to the streets.
The Holi festival is celebrated by people all over India, but also in many other Hindu countries in Asia. It is a two-day celebration of the arrival of spring after winter and symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The head of the social center in Shimoga, father Clifford Pinto, wrote us about the origin of the holiday:
„The festival of Holi has its roots in Hinduism. Once upon a time, there lived an evil king Hiranyakashyap who had a sister Holika and a son Prahalad. The king was blessed by the god Brahma and could not be harmed. He, therefore, became very arrogant and commanded that he be worshiped instead of the gods in the kingdom. But his son Prahalad refused because he worshiped the god Vishnu. This made the king very angry and he and Holika planned Prahalad’s death. On the king’s instructions, Holika climbed into the fire with Prahalad in her arms. However, she died unexpectedly and Prahalad was protected by the god Vishnu thanks to his devotion. So people began to celebrate this day in honor of the victory of good over evil.“
Although the Holi festival lasts only two days, its preparations begin several weeks in advance. During the first day of the festival, people build big bonfires, which are lit in the evening during the Holika Dahan ritual as a reminder of the story of Prahalad and the burning of evil. People gather around fires and pray together.
The second day of the festival is marked by colors. After the morning prayer, people dress in white and meet in the streets. Children pour colored water on each other and adults mostly use different colored powders called gulal. In the evening, people wash off the colors and meet with family and friends to wish for a pleasant spring and a good harvest in the coming season. During this holiday, everyone is equal on the streets, disputes are forgotten and new friendships are formed.