One of the most widely celebrated Hindu festivals in India is “Holi”.
“Holi” is celebrated for over 5 days in different parts or states of India.
Holi Festival 2022 is from 17th March to 22nd March.
Holi festival is celebrated in three major parts:
• First Part is Holika Dahan: 17th March 2022.
• Second Part is Holi: 18th March 2022.
• Third Part is Rang Panchami: 22nd March 2022.
According to Hindu mythology, the “Holi Festival” comes to an end on the day of Rang Panchami.
“Rang Panchami” festival denotes the existence of the “Panch Tatva”, or the “Five Elements of Existence”.
These 5 tatvas / elements are:
These 5 elements have a very unique role to play in our existence. Hence, each year, “Rang Panchami” is celebrated five days after Holika Dahan.
On the first day of the “Holi” festival is “Holika Dahan”.
“Holika Dahan” is celebrated in the evening by igniting a holy fire.
Due to this “holy fire,” all the negative qualities in the atmosphere and Rajasic (Frenetic Energy) and Tamsic (Inactive Energy) in the humans get burnt.
These negative energies are the hindrances we face towards our paths to Moksha or Liberation.
These negative traits are put to an end, by the bonfire called “Holika Dahan”.
Since all negativity is removed because of the “holy fire” or “Holika Dahan”, the atmosphere is filled with positivity and divine presence is felt.
So, as a mark of celebration, and to spread the “Positive Energy”, the people play with colours, sing joyous songs and exchange greetings of the day.
This “Positive energy” guides us to the “Path to Salvation”.
“Holika Dahan” also has a mythological story attached to it.
Holika Dahan – 17th March 2022
Holi festival starts on the night before Holi with the “Holika Dahan”.
People gather around the “ holy fire” and perform religious rituals in front of the fire, and pray that their internal negativities get destroyed the way Holika’s negativities were destroyed.
King Hiranyakashipu had a son named Prahlada. Prahlada was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and would continuously chant the god’s name. Holika was Prahlada’s aunt and sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu.
King Hiranyakashipu had earned a boon from the god, he got five special powers. The powers were that he could be killed by
- neither indoors nor outdoors,
- neither at day nor at night,
- nor by any shastra (handheld weapons),
- neither by astra (projectile weapons)
- neither on land
- nor in water
- nor air.
Hiranyakashipu grew arrogant and he thought that he was as powerful as God, and hence demanded that everyone worship only him.
But, Hiranyakashipu’s son, Prahlada, however, disagreed. He continued to worship Lord Vishnu. This infuriated Hiranyakashipu.
He subjected Prahlada, his son, to cruel punishments. But nothing affected the boy or his resolve to do what he thought was right.
Finally, Holika, Hiranyakasipu’s sister and Prahlada’s aunt tricked the boy into sitting on a pyre with her.
Holika wore a cloak that made her immune to injury from fire, while Prahlada was not.
But, as the fire roared, the cloak flew from Holika and covered Prahlada. Hence, Prahlada survived but his evil aunt, Holika died in the pyre.
Lord Vishnu, the restorer of Dharma, took the form of Narasimha – half human and half lion.
• Narasimha form was neither a human nor an animal,
• when it was neither day nor night, the time chosen was dusk,
• Hiranyakashyapu was taken to the doorstep, which was neither indoors nor outdoors,
• and was placed on Lord Narasimha’s lap, which was neither land, water nor air,
• filleted and killed the king with his lion claws, which were neither a handheld weapon nor a launched weapon.
The Holika or the “holy fire” signifies the celebration of the symbolic victory of good over evil.
To celebrate the “positivity” and “goodness” – “Holi” is celebrated the next morning.
Holi – 18th March 2022
The following day is celebrated as Rangwali Holi (Dhuleti) – where people play with colours as a symbol of “positivity “, “goodness” and “celebration”.
So, Holi has got the name “Festival of colours”.
With time, water guns and water-filled balloons also became a part of the “Holi celebration”.
Anyone and everyone is fair game be it – friend, stranger, rich, poor, man, woman, children or elders anyone can be smeared with colours.
The celebration with colours occurs in the open streets, parks, outside temples and buildings.
Holi is all about songs, musical instruments, dance and of course FOOD.
Indian festival and food go hand in hand!!!
The divine and the eternal love of Radha Krishna is also associated with “Holi”. Krishna and Radha are depicted playing “Holi” in many Hindu scriptures.
One of the stories of Radha – Krishna, illustrates that, as Krishna was dark-skinned and Radha was fair, Krishna wanted to be like Radha, so they played/applied the ” Holi” colours on each other so that they would resemble each other.
“Holi” also denotes the “arrival of spring” and the end of winter.
As “spring” season signifies “blossoming of love”, “Holi” is a festive day to meet friends and foes, to forgive and forget, and again play and laugh, and repair broken relationships.
Hence, Holi the “Festival of Colours” has also got the names – “Festival of Love” and the “Festival of Spring”.
Rang Panchami- 22nd March 2022
On “Rang Panchami” the ashes of Holi is worshipped.
At the beginning of TretayugaLord Vishnu performed Dhoolivandan. He began his ‘work’ through the incarnation of numerous joyful colours.
“Rang Panchami” is celebrated on the fifth day, called “Panchami”. This day is the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of “Phalgun”.
“Rang Panchami” is a major festival in the Malwa region, chiefly in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
People celebrate “Rang Panchami” by throwing fragrant red powder (gulal) and splashing coloured water on each other.
As “Rang Panchami” is the” fifth day” so, it is usually celebrated 5 days after Holi.
The fire or the “Holika Dahan” which shines with its brilliance on Holi, decomposes the raja-tama / or negative energies in the atmosphere.
It is believed that the abundance of positivity helps activate various gods in the form of colours.
This belief in the form of bliss is celebrated by throwing colours in the air. So, “Rang Panchami” is a sign of victory over raja-tama/negativity – Good over Evil.
“Rang Panchami” involves prayers and is a part of worship to manifest the different forms of Gods.
“Holi” festival is a festival designed by our ancestors to activate the five elements of radiant evident colours.
By activating these elements, we will feel closer to positivity or positive energies or Gods, who are attracted to their respective colours.
Activation of the 5 elements of life /nature,
activates the “Spiritual emotion of the Soul”.
“Holi” the “festival of colours” symbolizes
the removal of negative energies and
addition of the positive energies,
so that our lives are filled with
the “Colours of the Rainbow”.