As we were getting ready to get in the festive moods of Holi , my 8 year old asked why we light fire on Holi and I realized I have to write about this festival 🙂
“HOLI” a vibrant and colourful festival of INDIA. Generally celebrated around the month of March – April is also known as “Faag” or “Phagwaa” .
Let’s go first with HOW holi is celebrated.It’s mainly celebrated for 2 days the first day is celebrated by lighting fire in the evening time. People go around the fire seeking blessings. This is called “Holika dahan“. To my understanding this name was derived from the mythological story of King Hiranyakashyap and his son Prahald who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu.”Holika” was the name of King’s sister who entered the blazing fire with Prahlad on her lap (with the thought that Prahlad will be killed and since she had a boon to enter fire unscathed she will be saved.) Prahlad was saved by God and Holika was burnt in fire. “dahan” in hindi means burnt(combustion in literal word) ..hence the name “Holika dahan“.
The next day is celebrated in most of the India as “Dhuredi/Dhulandi” or “Rang Panchami“. Apart from making various delicious preparations the way this day is celebrated has transformed a lot, though the basic aspect of “playing with Colors” remains the same. Many other mythological tales related to Holi are about Lord Krishna and Radha, Ogress Pootna and Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva and Kaamdeva.The basic moral of these stories is be truthful,honest and fight from evil.
Culturally people believe that this is the day when every one forgets the hatred, misunderstanding etc and makes a fresh start by applying colors to each other and hugging each other. The aim is to bring every one closer and tie them in the thread of “UNITY” through this festival.
Coming to scientific part as to WHY “Holi” is celebrated there are various reasons to it, this is the time when weather changes from cold winter to onset of spring, people are generally lethargic and because of the weather transition there is growth of bacteria in the environment and in the human body, hence when people do parikrima around fire(meaning circumambulate around fire) because of the heat the bacteria within the body and the ones present in environment die.The fun and Frolic associated with Holi, the brisk movements , loud music etc, play a vital role in rejuvenating the Human body.
During olden times people used organic colours basically turmeric & flowers of Tesu/palaash/dhhak/Kinshuk (Butea monosperma) were used to make colours. Turmeric acts as antiseptic and apart from other good elements its loaded with Vitamin,C,E,K etc. hence is a wonderful immunity booster. Similarly Dried flowers of palaash are crushed and soaked in water all night and used to play for holi, this acts as a very good protection from various skin diseases apart from various other medicinal benefits. There is a whole new stream of science called “chromatics” that explains how different colours play different roles in Human life and impact us in various different ways. So hope you enjoyed your Holi with your loved ones in its True spirit “with love and loads of Colors” !!!