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Tomorrow 8th march is Holi. one of my favourite festivals amongst the huge platter of festivals we Indian’s celebrate.adding more colours in this colourful world, spreading happiness and warmth through music,dance, the play and hugs.
Usually it all starts very civilised applying a tikka on each others forehead and touching feet of elders but 15 minutes in and the wild human inside comes out and what fun this festival becomes( of course there are people who celebrate it the wrong way, but this post is going to focus on the positive vibrant festival that is Holi.)
Today I am going to tell you the story behind this beautiful festival of colours which celebrates spring and faith.
Holi starts with Holika Dahan, which is a kind of bonfire in memory of Prahlad.
Prahlad’s father Hiranyakashipu was the great king of demons, and he had been granted a boon by Brahma, which made it almost impossible for him to be killed. He had demanded that he not be killed
“during day or night;
inside the home or outside,
not on earth or in the sky;
neither by a man nor an animal;
neither by Astra nor by Shastra”.
Consequently, he grew arrogant and attacked the Heavens and the Earth. He demanded that people stop worshipping Gods and start praising him.But his own son Prahlad who was a devotee of lord Vishnu refused to worship his father and continued offering prayers to lord Vishnu.
In spite of several threats from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlad continued offering prayers to Lord Vishnu. He was poisoned by Hiranyakashipu, but the poison turned to nectar in his mouth. He was ordered to be trampled by elephants,put him in a room with hungry, poisonous snakes but all of Hiranyakashipu’s attempts to kill his son failed. Finally, he ordered young Prahlad to sit on a pyre on the lap of his demoness sister, Holika, who could not die because she also had a boon, which would prevent fire from burning her. Prahlada readily accepted his father’s orders, and prayed to Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as Holika burnt to death, while Prahlada survived unharmed, the burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi.
Later Lord Vishnu came in the form of a Narsimha  ( half-man and half-lion)
and killed Hiranyakashipu at dusk (neither day nor night)
on the steps of the porch of his house (neither inside the house nor outside)
by restraining him on his lap (neither in the sky nor on the earth)
and mauling him with his claws (neither Astra nor shastra)
Lath-Mar-Holi(लट्ठमार होली)
Barsana( in Uttar pradesh,India) is a place to be if you really want to see some wild action,it is unique in the sense that here women chase men away with sticks.The women of Barsana start preparing a month in advance. The mother-in-laws feed their daughters-in-law rich food so that they show off their prowess on the Holi battle zone. Men sing provocative songs in a bid to invite the attention of women. Women then go on the offensive and use long stave’s called lathis to beat men folk who protect themselves with shields. OUCH!!
Hope you have enjoyed this story  and those who will celebrate this festival tomorrow please play a safe Holi,be kind to your skin use natural colours and remember festivals should leave you happy not hurt.

About Soma Mukherjee

I often say things that put me in a jam, Jams go well with Buttered Toasts, Toasts are great hosts, Ghosts not so much, Although they can dance, Not all dancers are serial killers, Serial killers do not use Body bags that often, body bags aren't leak proof, Proof is in the Pudding.

46 responses »

  1. Hi Soma,

    In our country we have two other Hindu festivals; they’re called Galungan and Kuningan. And the biggest one is called Nyepi. It’s now even our national holiday. 🙂

    Subhan Zein

  2. Autumn and Gabby nominate you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award 🙂 Congrats and check out blog to see what to do 🙂

  3. Lovely post on holi. I also enjoyed the Indian style holi today and my hands and cheeks are still coloured.
    Beautiful des. our blogger friend from other country will come to know us more.
    Great idea. Keep it up.

  4. Loved ur article on Holi….yes this also tells us about Lord Vishnu’s incarnation as Narsimha…..
    Holi will alwayzz..hold a spl place , in my heart and u knw y soma……arrey bhaang ke bagair kyaa holi…….love uuuuuuuu

  5. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. A very meaningful revelation for me

  6. I spent the day and the full moon evening looking for colors and life… thank you.

  7. cromwellshead

    Happy Holi Miss Soma. Oh how I miss my mother in law throwing paint at me! A fun festival. Enjoy 🙂

  8. ravenofleyla

    What a lovely festive holiday!!! I recall some of the history from my days of studying Hindu. Thank you for reminding me of the beautiful celebrations and gracious people of India!
    smiles with love, Rx

    • 🙂 thanks Raven it is a fun festival lot of stories associated with this festivals one more is about Radha -Krishna about how he used to tease the girls and then they would chase lord krishna with sticks from this the lathmar holi came into existence.

  9. Pingback: India explodes into color for Holi « This Day – One Day

  10. What about throwing water? Is that part of tradition or is it just something that crept in along the way? Or do they only do that in some places in India?

    • Actually throwing water ( coloured or otherwise) is the way to play holi but there is sookhi( dry holi) too, where people just play with dry colours or flowers. holi is played almost everywhere in India.

  11. Soma, this sounds like a fun celebration; have a wonderful time and be safe, and thanks for sharing~ Happy Holi to you and sending hugs! 🙂

  12. I have seen these celebrations on TV but not taken part in one > delightful 🙂

    • Thanks Eric its really a fun festival playing with water and colours and all game for face painting….do take part if you find right group or may be create your own Holi group 🙂

  13. silentfingers

    Soma, I am new around here but I have a feeling I am going to be here for a longer while.
    A wonderful piece this is. I have always admired the rich culture and heritage of India. After reading this one cannot help but agree that, not only was Greek blessed with their own God’s but India too. Enjoyed reading, Soma!

    Hmm, I think every country should have their own Barsana; so that we women can settle few necessary scores each year through our “lathis”. lol

    Wish you and your loved ones a Happy happy Holi!
    Be safe and stay smiling!

    • 😆 you comment about Barsana had me in splits..we think the same…oh man i have a list 🙂
      so many gods,so many stories and yet so little peace and patience…played with right spirit festivals are beautiful 🙂
      Thanks a ton for such a lovely comment 🙂

  14. I have learnt a something new and beutiful.
    Lovely post.
    greetings to you

  15. Lovely post! Have a great time.

  16. Enjoy! Thank you for sharing an interesting point of culture. I really enjoyed both the lore and the modern approaches.

  17. Happy Holi, Soma!!! Its been so long since I played Holi. I really miss it. 😦

  18. Happy Holi, Soma! Do have a most wonderful time, and show us pictures if you take any.
    Love and Hugs, xx

  19. Opisałaś mi historię,której nie znałam,ale dzięki tobie już wiem co oznacza to święto-very nice Holi…

  20. It’s sounds like a really exciting and fun day Soma! 🙂 You know how much I love to celebrate and all, I would love to experience Holi. But as you pointed out, just so it’s fun and nobody gets hurt during the festival. Thanks so much for telling us all about this special day and Happy Holi to you! 🙂 Hugs! 🙂

  21. Happy Holi Soma, Remember only on Holi you remind each other ‘Holi Hai’ .

  22. Yayyy 🙂 Now I can write it here 🙂 Happy Holi! And thank you for sharing those bits of stories 🙂 I love the backgrounds of festivals, the more the merrier 🙂

    • Oh thank god you saw and reported it or else i would have not known the comments was disabled for this post
      by gawd you are a saviour, wish you a happy holi too Usha( hey do you play holi)
      we had so much fun will send you a pic 🙂

  23. It looks like fabulous fun!


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