By Ishan Karanjit:
It’s that one religious day of the year where you can play with unlimited colours. It’s that auspicious day when you can splash yourself as much as you want in colourful waterpools. It’s that huge day when we celebrate the beautiful occasion of Holi – the Festival of Colours.
Yes, Holi. It is one of the greatest festivals of the Hindus, celebrated all over the world and now equally famous among non-Hindus. It falls on the Full Moon day in the month of Falgun (March, in the English calendar), which is an auspicious time. The environment becomes equally mesmerizing and “Holi-addicted” as the shops are decorated with lots of colourful banners and items that symbolize the essence of the great festival. For the water lovers, the water guns, water squeezers (Pichkari) and water balloons are abundantly available.
Holi comes with a huge religious and historical background. In Hindu mythology there was once a demon king named Hiranyakashyap, who demanded everyone in his kingdom worship him. It so happened his own son Prahlad was a worshipper of Lord Vishnu and the demon king didn’t like it at all. So he ordered his sister Holika, who had a boon that she wouldn’t be harmed by fire, to step in it with his son on her lap. Amazingly, Prahlad was saved by Lord Vishnu and Holika was burnt to ashes instead. Hence to remember this triumph of goodness over evil, we celebrate Holi. People in some parts of the world celebrate it by burning a bonfire which symbolizes the burning of Holika.
Just like every coins has two sides, Holi has some bad influences in the name of festivity too. While playing with colours, people use various harmful chemicals which adversely affect the skin. Also, people forcefully impose the colours and even pour buckets of water on people who are not interested in celebrating. The excessive drinking of an alcoholic drink called “bhaang” has made people lose consciousness and behave unsociably. These activities should be totally banned and an eco-friendly Holi should be put into play.
Reminiscing about the days of my Holi back home in Nepal, it has always been my favourite festival. With a feeling of excitement, I visit temples early morning and enjoy the atmosphere with people disseminating colours. It feels good even though the neighbours pour buckets of water on me. Apart from this, celebrating with my family is the best part of Holi for me. The weather also supports the beautiful environment of Holi with the cool breeze blowing around us, which is like the cherry on the cake. Getting in the festive mood with my neighbours and friends playing with water balloons, colours and partying is another bright part of Holi for me, which will always be safe within me.
A historical three-tiered umbrella-like flagpole, called “Chir”, is erected at Basantapur (a historical city of Nepal) for a week marking the commencement of Holi.
Similar to Holi, we have Colour Run in Australia too, where people play with colours. But there is nothing like home and nothing is like celebrating at home with my friends and family around.
Finally, Holi is a religious, joyful and entertaining festival that comes once a year. Leaving the bad aspects far behind, let us all celebrate Holi with eco-friendly activities, religious tolerance and a feeling of brotherhood all over the world. Let us make the world a colorful place to live in on the fantastic festival of Holi.
HAPPY HOLI everyone!!! J