The legends behind Holi which makes it more Eventful!
The legends behind Holi which makes it more Eventful! | Photography: Tmb

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The legends behind Holi which makes it more Eventful!

Mar 20, 2019

If you think party-culture in our country is a result of western influence then think again. Our ancestors have created ample opportunities for all of us to party hard on a periodic basis by establishing various festivals and traditions that are meant for us to let our hair down and celebrate.

It is said that this is the day when Lord Krishna teased the gopikas (female cowherds)
It is said that this is the day when Lord Krishna teased the gopikas (female cowherds)

Be it the sparkling lights and celebrations of Diwali or the yummy food preparations of Dusshera, we have no dearth of our own ‘parties’ along with family and friends. In this list of amazing festivals, one of the most loved festivals of the youth is the festival of Holi. The festival is known for its colourful celebrations where friends and family literally spread cheer through coloured powder. Coloured water is also used to make the celebrations more interesting. The faces of people after the day of Holi gives an oddly satisfying feeling of celebrating it to the fullest as the colours stay on for at least half a week.

So, why is this festival celebrated? Let us look at some famous legends behind this fun festival.

Krishna and gopikas

Holi is celebrated with most fervour in Krishna’s town – Mathura. It is said that this is the day when Lord Krishna teased the gopikas (female cowherds) by throwing coloured powders on them and this is how the tradition of Holi started. This day is also associated with divine playfulness that Krishna embodied. The famous Ras Leela is also enacted on stage on this day.

Radha and Krishna

There is another story connecting Krishna to Holi. According to this story, Krishna and Radha were in love but their contrasting skin colour was a source of worry for them. To deal with this, they painted each other with the same colours to look similar and this started the tradition of Holi. Couples throw similar colours on each other keeping this story in mind.

This is one of the most accepted stories for the origin of Holi celebrations.
This is one of the most accepted stories for the origin of Holi celebrations.

The tale of Prahlada

This is one of the most accepted stories for the origin of Holi celebrations. It is said that Hiranyakashipu, a mythical king who wanted the whole world to worship only him had a son named Prahlada. Ironically for Hiranyakashipu, his son was an ardent worshipper of Lord Vishnu right from birth. Angered by his son’s constant praises for Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashipu asks his sister Holika to kill his son. Holika possessed powers to walk through fire unscathed. Planning to use this to her advantage, she takes Prahlada along with her and walks through fire to kill him. But, due to the blessings of Vishnu, Prahlada escapes the burns while Holika herself burns away in the fire. This is marked by celebrations of colour. Many people perform ‘Holika Dahan’ in many parts of the country to symbolise the burning away of evil.

Kamadeva connection

Kamadeva or the lord of love is also associated with Holi. It is said that Kamadeva disturbed the meditation of lord Shiva by mistake and as a result Shiva opened his third eye to incinerate Kamadeva. So, on this day, offerings to cool Kamadeva, such as sandalwood paste, are made.

Dhundhi flees away

It is said that an ogress named Dhundhi was living in a village named Prindhu and troubled the children and youth of the village. The ogress had accumulated a lot of boons through penance and had become invincible due to her powerful boons. However, it is said the children and youth of the village found out about a curse that she had gotten from Lord Shiva that she would be troubled by pranks of little children. They used this to their advantage and ultimately drove the ogress out of the town. This is celebrated on Holi.