Holi, also known as the festival of colours is around the corner. It is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India and across the globe by people of non-Indian origins.
Though Holi is celebrated by all Hindus, not everyone knows the real story behind the festival. Here it is:
The Story of Holi festival
Holi gets its name from Holika, demon king Hiranyakashyap’s sister. Hiranyakashyap had got a boon from Lord Vishnu that he would not be killed by man or animal, at day or night, inside or outside, above or on the ground.
So Hiranyakashyap said that only he should be worshipped, not God. His own son, Prahlad continued to worship Lord Vishnu. This made his father angry. He asked Prahlad to jump from a mountain, but he remained unhurt.
Even when Hiranyakashyap made Prahlad jump in a well, he was unharmed.
Hiranyakashyap tried to poison Prahlad. The poison turned to nectar in Prahlad’s mouth.
Then, Hiranyakashya ordered that wild elephants should trample Prahlad, but he was not hurt.
Next, Prahlad was put in a room with poisonous, angry snakes, but still nothing happened to him.
Finally, Hollka made Prahlad sit on a pyre with her. She was protected by a shawl that kept her from being burnt. The shawl flew from her to Prahlad. So, Holika burned, Prahlad was safe.
Lord Vishnu appeared as half-man, half-lion and killed Hiranyakashyap at dusk, on his porch steps.
A Holika bonfire is lit every year to remind us of the victory of good over evil. Holi is celebrated on the day after the bonfire.
The significance of Holi
The festival marks the victory of good over evil as the legend itself demonstrates the death of Holika, who signifies evil and the victory of Prahlad, who was a noble person and was thus protected by the great Lord himself. It also marks the end of a long winter and the arrival of spring.