Holi is the festival of colours. You see people splashing colours all over others and having a great time. All Hindu festivals have some deep significance behind them. Holi is no different. Holi symbolizes the victory of Good over Evil. Do you know the many mythological stories behind celebrating Holi?
You know that people celebrate Holi on two days. On the first night, you see people preparing huge bonfires and burning their old trash. There is a specific reason behind burning them. Let’s read the various stories associated behind Holi.
Prahlada – Holika
This dates back to the times when the Asuras used to rule the Earth. Hiranyakasipu, the Asura King, used to hate Lord Vishnu as Vishnu was responsible for the death of his brother, Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakasipu had a son named Prahlada who was a Vishnu devotee by birth. This angered Hiranyakasipu a lot. He tried many ways to kill Prahlada but to no avail.
So he approached his sister Holika who had a boon that fire would do her no harm. She suggested that she would wrap Prahlada tightly inside her dress and enter the fire. She entered the fire as planned. But, the flames engulfed her completely leaving Prahlada unharmed. It symbolized the victory of Good over Evil. This is why people light up bonfires in the name of Holika and throw all the old and useless articles into it. They plan to start a new life afresh after this ritual. This is the story behind celebrating Holi. People celebrate it by splashing colours on everyone. On this day, people forget their enmity and differences. They come together and celebrate the festival with great joy and fervour.
Radha – Krishna
Lord Krishna was madly in love with Radha from a neighbouring village. Radha was a beautiful girl with a milky complexion. Krishna was also beautiful, but he was dark-skinned. Hence, he had an inferiority complex. He requested his mother to allow him to throw colours on Radha’s face. Krishna’s mother allowed him this liberty on the day of Holi. Krishna visited Radha’s village with his gang of cowherds and started splashing colours on the faces of women. The women retaliated by hitting them with lathis. This practice continues even today in the village, Barsana where Radha used to live once.
Shiva – Kamadeva
Everyone knows that Sati, the daughter of King Daksha loved Lord Shiva and wanted to marry him. Daksha opposed the alliance and insulted Shiva in front of all. Unable to bear the insults, Sati jumped into the fire and gave up her life. Enraged, Shiva killed King Daksha. Sati took birth as Parvati in another life. However, her love for Shiva was still alive. She tried her best to entice Shiva. Exasperated, she approached Kamadeva, the God of Love to help her. Kamadeva shot the arrow of flowers towards Shiva. Shiva became angry and opened his third eye, thereby immediately burning Kamadeva to ashes. Understanding the gravity of the situation, Shiva resurrected Kamadeva and granted him immortal status. People celebrate Holi by doing pujas to Kamadeva and applying sandalwood on his forehead.
Dhundhi – The Ogress
There was an ogress by the name of Dhundhi in the kingdom of King Raghu. She had a boon that nobody could do her any harm. Hence, she went on terrorising people in the kingdom. However, she had a weak point. She could not face abuses hurled at her by young boys. King Raghu picked upon this weakness and urged the boys in the kingdom to chase her away using bad words. The boys made a bonfire and started dancing around it. As they spotted the ogress, the boys started abusing her with the choicest of bad words. Unable to take these insults, the ogress died. Hence, boys are allowed to utter bad words on Holi as a mark of celebration of the death of Dhundhi.
Thus you see there are many stories linked to the colourful festival Holi.