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  1. 1. What is Holi? • Holi is literally one of the most colorful festivals in the world celebrated in early March. • Lasts 1-5 days • Bonfires are lit and coloured powders and dyes are thrown over people. • Holi symbolises spring and the mythological stories of the God Krishna and the King Prahlad.
  2. 2. How did the celebration of Holi assume a colorful face? • According to the Hindu belief, Krishna was a reincarnation of lord Vishnu himself. • It was Krishna, or, the king of the ancient city of Dwarka, who popularised the tradition of Holi. • The origin of the colorful and playful tone of Holi lies in the childhood of Krishna.
  3. 3. Krishna’s pranks • It all came up as part of his pranks, he used to play with his mates of Gokul and Vrindavan. • Situated in north India, these are the places where he spent his childhood. • It was at this time of year, Krishna used to play pranks by drenching the village girls, with water and colours. • At first it offended the girls. But they were so fond of this mischievous boy that soon their anger melted away.
  4. 4. How it added more colour? • It did not take long for other boys to join in, making it a popular sport in the village. • Later, as Krishna grew up, the play assumed a new dimension. It added more colour to Krishna's legendary love life. • The legend of Krishna's courtship with Radha, and playing pranks with the 'Gopi's. • The girls in the 'dairy' village of Gokul were mostly milkmaids, and, locally known as the Gopis.
  5. 5. How it spread? • The same tradition has transpired through the ages, turning it into a community festival of the masses. • As time kept flowing, the culture spread roots to other regions of the country. • The Holi play of Krishna is documented in hundreds of ancient paintings, murals, sculptures and scriptures found across the subcontinent.
  6. 6. Holi’s second meaning • Way back in the pre-Christian era, there lived a demon king named Hiranyakashipu in ancient India. • He wanted to avenge the death of his younger brother. • The brother, also a demon, had been killed by Lord Vishnu.
  7. 7. The king’s boon • To take on Vishnu, the king wanted to become the king of the heaven, earth and the underworld. • He performed severe penance and prayer for many years to gain enough power. • Finally he was granted a boon. • Powered by the boon, Hiranyakshipu thought he had become invincible.
  8. 8. Prahalad’s devotion • Arrogant, he ordered all in his kingdom to worship him, instead of God. • The demon king, however, had a very young son, named Prahalad. • He was a passionate devotee of Vishnu. • Despite his father's order, Prahalad continued to pray to Vishnu.
  9. 9. Killing Prahalad • So the demon king wanted to kill his son. • He asked the favor of his sister Holika who, because of a boon, was immune to fire. • They planned that Prahalad would be burned to death. • A pyre was lit up and Holika sat on it, clutching Prahalad.
  10. 10. Prahalad’s devotion • Yet, at the end Prahalad came out unharmed by the fire, and Holika, the demon, was burned to ashes. • The sincere devotion and complete obedience to Lord Vishnu saved young Prahlad. • Thus was the triumph of Prahlad, the representative of good spirits. And the defeat of Holika, the representative of evil. • Later, even the demon king Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu. But that is a different story.
  11. 11. How Holi originated? • It is from Holika, that the Holi originated. • This legend is relived even today on the Holi-eve when the pyre is re-lit in the form of bonfires. • Even today, people celebrate this occasion. • Huge bonfires are lit up every year on the eve of the full moon night of the Holi to burn the spirit of the evils. • Hence the story associated with the soul of the celebration.
  12. 12. What happens? • A large tree branch, representing Prahlad, is placed in the middle of the fire. • The branch is removed, recreating Prahlad’s rescue. • The next morning, people put on old clothes and drench each other with colored powders. • It’s the one day of the year that parents encourage their children to get filthy!
  13. 13. What it signifies? • Colours of Holi signify celebrating the mood of nature.
  14. 14. Quiz 1) What does Holi symbolize? - spring and stories of Krishna and Prahalad. 2) Who popularised the tradition of Holi? - Krishna Baghwan. 3) How did Krishna play pranks? - by drenching the village girls with water and colour.
  15. 15. Quiz 2 4) Who was the demon king’s brother killed by? - Lord Vishnu. 5) What did he do to gain enough power? - do severe penance. 6) Who was Prahalad? - the King’s son.
  16. 16. Quiz 3 7) Why did the king want to kill his son? - because Prahalad prayed to Lord Vishnu despite his father’s orders. 8) How did the king plan to kill Prahalad? - by burning him to death. 9) Why was he saved? - because he was devoted to Lord Vishnu.
  17. 17. Quiz 4 10) Why are bonfires lighted on Holi-eve? - to relive the day when Holika and Prahalad sat on the pyre and she was burnt but he was unharmed. 11) What do people do the day after? - they put on old clothes and drench each other with colour.