The festival of Holi, widely celebrated in India, is one of the world’s most colourful, boisterous and lively festivals. The larger-than-life images and special coverage of the festival around the world has created a special demand for India travel packages centred on this radiant festival. Wooing visitors to India with its promise of day full of revelry and colours, the festival of Holi also has an interesting historical and mythological significance. Below we state for you, some of the most fascinating facts about Holi:
Holi: The Historical and Mythological Significance
Originating in the 4th century, the festival of Holi has a riveting history. Hiranyakashipu, a demon king and an adversary of Lord Vishnu grew in arrogance as it was almost impossible to kill him because of a special boon granted to him and demanded that everyone worship only him. But his own son Prahlada, to his ill luck, was a fierce devotee of Lord Vishnu. So when all his other tricks failed, Hiranyakashipu plotted with his sister Holika to kill Prahlada. Holika, herself protected by a magical cloak, tricked Prahlada into entering the funeral pyre sitting on her lap. But Lord Vishnu intervened, and Holika was burnt to death while Prahlada survived. Effigies of Holika are burnt in India to this day for marking the victory of good over evil.
Throwing of Colours and Other Rituals
Another important ritual, almost synonymous with the festival, is the throwing colours on each other on the day of Holi. This ritual owes its existence to Hindu God Krishna who started the tradition by applying colour on the face of his beloved Radha. It is said that because Krishna was dark-skinned, he was unsure whether Radha, who was extremely fair and beautiful, would accept his love. In order to pacify him, his mother, once advised him that he colours Radha in any colour he likes, which eventually started the romance that has historians writing eulogies to it till this day. The festival of Holi, thus, retains the elements of fun, romance and playfulness. Apart from the play of colours, people also gather together and feast on sumptuous local cuisines on the day of the festival.
Different Types of Holi Celebrations in India
India is a land of diversity, so much so that the rituals and celebrations surrounding the festival of Holi acquire their own unique characteristics at every few hundred kilometres. From Lathmar Holi in Barsana, Uttar Pradesh to Holi of widows in Vrindawan to Khadi Holi in Kumaon and from Hola Mohalla in Punjab to Basant Utsav and Dol Jatra in West Bengal to Rangpanchmi in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh; there are so many different ways in which the festival is celebrated that you can practically visit India every year at Holi and still find yourself discovering more about the festival.
How to Stay Safe during Holi
Such is fervour and gusto surrounding this festival that the unique experience of celebrating Holi in India stays with visitors for a long time. That said, it is extremely important to ensure your own safety as the festival does tend to get a little raucous, especially in some parts of the country. As precautionary measures, don’t accept drinks from strangers; don’t venture out on roads on your own, always keep contact details of local law enforcement units handy, choose to spend the festival at well-researched Holi events and leave any place where you might sense trouble brewing almost instantly. With little caution, the festival of Holi can bring visitors few of their most rejoiced moments in India and acquaint themselves with India’s diverse traditions and rituals in the most practical manner.