HOLI <ul><li>Holi festival may be celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated. </li></ul>
Day of celebration One of the major festivals of India, Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar.
<ul><li>This year festival of Holi is to be celebrated on </li></ul><ul><li>20 March 2011 </li></ul>
Festival of Colors Colors will fill the atmosphere as people throw abeer and gulal in the air showing great joy and mirth in the arrival of this Spring Festival. Holi marks the end of the winter gloom and rejoices in the bloom of the spring time. It is the best time and season to celebrate; Holi provides this opportunity and people take every advantage of it.
<ul><li>Mythological Significance </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Significance </li></ul><ul><li>Social Significance </li></ul><ul><li>Biological Significance </li></ul>Significance of Holi
Mythological Significance Holi gets us close to our religion and our mythology as it is essentially the celebration of various legends associated with the festival.
<ul><li>There was once a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth. He was so egoistic that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and refused to worship his father. Hiranyakashyap tried several ways to kill his son but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Finally, he asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap as he knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed . </li></ul><ul><li>Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Vishnu all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion. </li></ul>The legend of Holika and Prahlad
<ul><li>The legend has it that when Lord Shiva's consort Sati committed herself to fire due to disgrace shown by her father Daksha to Shiva, Lord Shiva became extremely sad. He renounced his worldly duties and went into deep meditation. Meanwhile, Parvati started meditating to acquire Shiva as her husband. Moreover, since Shiva was least interested in the affairs of the world complications began to generate in matters of the world which made all the gods concerned and afraid. The gods then seeked the help of Lord Kaamadeva, the god of love and passion to bring Shiva back to his original self. As planned Kaama shot his love arrow on Shiva while he was in meditation. This made Shiva extremely angry and he opened his third eye - reducing Kaamadeva to ashes. However, Kaamadeva arrow had its effect and Lord Shiva married Parvati. </li></ul>The legend of Kaamadeva
The Legend of Radha-Krishna <ul><li>Young Krishna is known to be very playful and mischievous. The story goes that as a child, Krishna was extremely jealous of Radha's fair complexion since he himself was very dark. One day, Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda. To pacify the crying young Krishna, the doting mother asked him to go and colour Radha's face in whichever colour he wanted. </li></ul>
Legend of Pootana <ul><li>A legend says that there was an Ogress known as Pootana. Lord Krishna's devil uncle Kansa seeked the help of Pootana to kill infant Krishna by feeding him poisonous milk. Pootana disguised herself as a simple and pious woman and treacherously fed baby Krishna with her poisoned breast. Lord Krishna, however, sucked her blood which revealed the monster behind that pious woman and laid her to death. On the night before Holi, there is a practice to burn an effigy of Pootana - the Ogress who nearly killed Lord Krishna. The tradition is symbolic of victory of divinity over demonic forces. It also shows the end of winter and darkness – as typified by Pootana. </li></ul>
Cultural Significance <ul><li>Celebration of the various legends associated with Holi reassure the people of the power of the truth as the moral of all these legends is the ultimate victory of good over evil. The legend of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad also points to the fact that extreme devotion to god pays as god always takes his true devotee in his shelter. All these legends help the people to follow a good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful. This is extremely important in the modern day society when so many people resort to evil practices for small gains and torture one who is honest. </li></ul><ul><li>Besides, Holi is celebrated at a time of the year when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest. This gives a people a good reason to rejoice, make merry and submerge themselves in the spirit of Holi. </li></ul>
Social Significance <ul><li>Holi helps to bring the society together and strengthen the secular fabric of our country. Also, the tradition of the Holi is that even the enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any feeling of hardship that may be present. Besides, on this day people do not differentiate between the rich and poor and everybody celebrate the festival together with a spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood. This helps in revitalizing relationships and strengthening emotional bonds between people. </li></ul>
Biological Significance <ul><li>The colours when sprayed on the body have a great impact on it. Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it. There is yet another scientific reason for celebrating the Holi, this however pertains to the tradition of Holika Dahan. The mutation period of winter and spring, induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 o F. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrima around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Please read on to know about the three main environmental concerns around Holi - </li></ul><ul><li>The use of toxic chemical colours. </li></ul><ul><li>The use of wood for burning Holi fires. </li></ul><ul><li>The wasteful use of water during Holi. </li></ul>
Make your own Holi colours Color Method of Preparation Yellow 1) Mix turmeric (haldi) powder with chick pea flour (besan) 2) Boil Marigold or Tesu flowers in water Yellow liquid Soak peels of pomegranate (Anar) overnight. Deep Pink Slice a beetroot and soak in water Orange-red paste Henna leaves (mehndi) can be dried, powdered and mixed with water