THE HOLI FESTIVAL
Holi is one of the most prominent festivals of the Hindus celebrated in India. It is a seasonal festival which marks the end of the winter season. It is festival of fun and frolic, happiness and gaiety. The young and the old celebrate it with great joy and fun.
There are two days attributed to this festival. They are known as “chhotti Holi” and “Bari Holi” or “Dulhandi. On the “chhotti Holi” day ladies and children in their best dresses go to worship a big pile of fire wood. They throw rice and burn incense at it. Then at night at the auspicious hour this heap of fire wood is set on fire. Men go to it with stalks of barley in order to put them into fire and then they embrace each other and wish “Happy Holi”. On this day even old enmities and differences are buried and forgotten. The night passes into the day which is called “Dulhandi” the day of coloured water and “Gulal”.
Various theories wrap around this festival. Some say that Holi is commemorated in honour of Lord Krishna who killed a cruel demon on this day and filled the life of people with ecstasy. Others are of the view that it is celebrated in honour of Prahlad, a great devotee of the Supreme God. His naughty demon father “Hirnayakush” who was a king regarded himself greater than God. But Prahlad did not like this attitude of his father and went on worshiping God despite his cruel father’s threat. “Hirnayakush” punished his disobedient son by throwing him into the burning flames of fire but these flames could do no harm to the real devotee of God. Then he tied his son to a burning pillar out of which “Narasingh” God appeared and killed his devil father. Since then this day is celebrated by playing with colour.
In villages, town and cities the Holi festival is celebrated by all people who express their joy by singing folk songs and dancing to the beats of drums. Before noon, people come out of their houses in groups. They have gulal in their hands and smear it on the forehead of each other. The children get ready with syringes and buckets full of coloured water. They throw it on passers- by, friends and relatives. Some use water balloons which hit a person like a missile. So the Government has put a ban on the sale of balloons during the Holi festival. In the afternoon feasts are arranged and delicacies are enjoyed.
Some people spoil this festive occasion by drinking excessively and throwing mud and dirt at others. Such practice must be denounced by all of us. On this day procession of fools’ is also taken out by great poets and writers. They sit on donkeys and wear strings of shoes around their necks. Humorous and funny poems are recited in the fools’ conference. Thus everybody is seen in a jolly mood on this funny festival.
It is one of the most colourful festivals of India.