What is Holi? When is it celebrated?

  • Publish date: Thursday، 28 March 2024
What is Holi? When is it celebrated?

Holi is a vibrant and joyous Hindu festival celebrated primarily in India and Nepal, although it's gaining popularity in many parts of the world. It marks the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. The festival is known for its colorful festivities, where people gather to celebrate, play with vibrant colored powders called "gulal," and drench each other with water.

What is Holi? When is it celebrated?

The main day of Holi, known as "Rangwali Holi" or "Dhulandi," is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and water at each other. It's a time when social norms are relaxed, and people from all walks of life come together to enjoy the festivities. Traditional sweets and snacks like gujiya, mathri, and thandai are also prepared and shared during Holi.

Holi has its roots in Hindu mythology, particularly in the legend of Prahlad and Holika, which symbolizes the victory of devotion and virtue over evil. The night before Holi, bonfires are lit to commemorate the burning of Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, who tried to kill Prahlad but was instead consumed by the fire herself.

Holi is not just about colors and fun; it's also a time for reconciliation and renewal of relationships. People come together, forget past grievances, and embrace each other with warmth and love. It's a festival that fosters a sense of community and togetherness, making it one of the most cherished and anticipated celebrations in India and beyond.

When is Holi Celebrated?

Holi is celebrated on the last full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Phalguna, which usually falls in February or March on the Gregorian calendar. The main day of Holi, known as "Rangwali Holi" or "Dhulandi," typically takes place on the day after the full moon. However, the exact date may vary each year depending on the lunar calendar. Holi festivities often extend over several days, with different regions and communities observing various traditions and customs associated with the festival.

What Are Some Of The Stories Associated With Holi?

Holi is rich in mythology and folklore, with several stories and legends associated with the festival. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

  1. Legend of Prahlad and Holika: This is one of the most well-known stories associated with Holi. It tells the tale of Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, and his evil father, King Hiranyakashipu. The king wanted Prahlad to worship him instead of Vishnu but failed. In his anger, Hiranyakashipu enlisted the help of his sister, Holika, who was immune to fire. They planned to burn Prahlad alive, but through divine intervention, Prahlad survived while Holika perished in the fire. This event symbolizes the victory of good over evil, and the burning of Holika is commemorated on the eve of Holi with bonfires.

  2. Krishna and Radha's playful antics: Another popular legend associated with Holi is the playful antics of Lord Krishna and his consort, Radha. According to mythology, young Krishna, known for his mischievous nature, complained to his mother about the stark difference in skin color between him and Radha. In response, his mother playfully suggested he apply color on Radha's face to make her look like him. This playful act of applying colors to each other became a tradition, and it's said that even today, Holi is celebrated with great fervor in Krishna's birthplace, Vrindavan, and other regions associated with his life.

  3. The story of Kamadeva: In some regions, Holi is also associated with the legend of Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love and desire. According to this tale, Kamadeva shot his love arrows at Lord Shiva to awaken him from deep meditation. However, Shiva was so angered by the disturbance that he opened his third eye and burned Kamadeva to ashes. Eventually, Kamadeva was resurrected, and his sacrifice is commemorated during Holi as a symbol of love's triumph over adversity.

What is Holi? When is it celebrated?

How Is Holi Celebrated In The UAE?

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Holi is celebrated by the Indian expatriate community with great enthusiasm and fervor. Although it's not a public holiday in the UAE, Holi festivities are observed in various ways:

  1. Community Events: Indian community organizations and temples often organize Holi events and cultural programs where people come together to celebrate. These events typically include playing with colors, traditional music and dance performances, and the serving of Indian sweets and snacks.

  2. Private Gatherings: Many families and friends organize private gatherings at homes or rented venues to celebrate Holi. They play with colors, indulge in festive foods, and enjoy each other's company in a joyful atmosphere.

  3. Holi Parties: Some hotels, resorts, and clubs in the UAE host Holi parties, offering special packages that include music, dancing, food, and, of course, playing with colors. These parties attract both Indian and non-Indian residents and tourists who want to experience the vibrant festivities of Holi.

  4. Color Runs: In recent years, Holi-themed color runs or fun runs have become popular in the UAE. Participants come together to run, jog, or walk while being drenched in colored powder, creating a lively and colorful atmosphere.

  5. Online Celebrations: With the rise of social media and digital platforms, there's also a trend of celebrating Holi virtually in the UAE. People share Holi wishes, photos, and videos with friends and family through social networking sites and messaging apps.

Despite being away from their homeland, the Indian community in the UAE keeps the spirit of Holi alive by coming together to celebrate this joyous festival, fostering a sense of cultural unity and camaraderie.

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