Holi is one of the biggest festivals in India. It happens on the last full month of the lunar months. Tomorrow! March 6 2015. It signals the ushering in of spring and the end of winter. (Thank God!) It is called a festival of colors, a festival of love and a festival of forgiveness. It is celebrated all over the world where there are a lot of Hindus. Here is a little back-story….
There was once a King in India who felt indestructible and became very arrogant. He wanted everyone to worship him. His son refused to worship him. Thus, the King’s evil sister, Holika, tricked him into sitting in fire with her. However unbeknownst to the son, she was wearing a cloak that would protect her from the fire. But the joke is on the King and his evil sister because somehow the cloak got on the son in the blaze of the fire and Holika burned. The festival is named after Holika, ‘Holi’ for short. Some believe the fire symbolized the burning of the ego and good conquering bad.
The night before Holi, a bonfire is burned in remembrance of the story. Dancing, singing and prayer surround the bonfire. It is a very personal experience. Some consider it burning of their ego, sins or all bad things and a new start. The day of Holi is a huge celebration denoted by people throwing dry colored powder and colored water on each other, singing, dancing and eating sweets made only during this period.
Legend has it that Krishna, a Hindu deity, was poisoned with demon’s breast milk as a baby and developed blue skin. He had a crush on a particular girl, Radha, but thought no girl would like him because of his skin. So his Mother told him to paint the face of Radha any color he likes, he did and they fell in love. Thus, Holi is considered a festival of love and today people put colors on people faces. I like that, to me it symbolizes that we are all flawed you should not let that hinder a relationship with someone.
After all the colors people clean off and visit with friends and family. It is a day that enemies greet each other and for that day they have no resentment or beef towards each other. Friends, family and foes will share stories of the day they met. On Holi, debts are forgiven or repaid, and feuds are settled. It is a day of appreciation of your fellow man, a day of forgiveness, and a new start for many.
It is pure celebration; anyone becomes a target for color. If you are out on the street color gets thrown on you. Many elders do not go out any more during Holi naturally it can get rowdy- people will get intoxicated. The elders simply meet and greet at home and share fond stories of each other.
What a wonderful concept right? I am going to do this in America. If you are reading this, I challenge you to forgive tomorrow as many times and as many people as you can (including yourself, sometimes that’s the hardest). Consider it a fresh start for you. Sometimes we carry things we don’t need to. Just put it down. It’s ok to do that. Let’s start there; maybe next year we can have a party. 🙂