A weekend before the holi, we used to visit the wholesale market Sadar Bazaar to shop and stock up dry gulal colors or wet water colors, colour sprays and pichkaris (water jets) and packets of water baloons. Of course, a lot of bargaining.
Holi, the festival of colours, is celebrated to mark the beginning of spring and harvest season. In places associated with the Hindu god Krishna, Holi is traditionally played over several days with revellers hurling coloured powder and water at each other.
And on the day of Holi, my mom used to take out those old, but perfect pair of cloth for us to wear. She used to smear our hairs and face/arms with as much coconut oil as possible. Parachute Coconut oil has been and will be my mom’s favorite. And mine too.
Me and my brother would reserve the bathroom early in the morning to fill buckets of water with colors and then get the Water balloons filled with them. Each of us had our own set of bucket which we later hurled at passer-bys.
After the Puja, mom and dad would apply dry gulal to us and we would do the same. After which, my dad would get our water buckets of different water colors in our balcony and we would then fill our pichkaris or water guns to squirt in all directions at impromptu street gangs as well as at the neighbours. (And, I can’t stop giggling at the memory)
The best part about Holi is the fact that everyone has a smile on their face, whether they are enjoying the company of their friends or chasing foes around the street. I’ve never seen any event that was this happy on such a big scale. It’s amazing.
Legend of Holika – Holika Dahan
The story relates to an ancient demoniac king in India known as Hiranya-Kasyapu. He was a cruel and tyrannical ruler. All his subjects followed his orders except for his son Prahlad. Prahlad was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. This infuriated his father who wanted to punish him. The king asked Prahlad to embrace a red hot pole. But, he was unhurt. Then, he asked Prahlad to jump off a steep cliff, but was unhurt again. Prahlad obeyed his father each time chanting Vishnu’s name and was never hurt by all the punishment.
Hiranya Kasyapu called his sister Holika who had a boon from the gods that she would not burn in a fire. Holika made Prahlad sit on her lap in the fire. But, this time, Holika was burnt to death (for abusing her boon to do evil) and Prahlad was unhurt. Eventually, the ordeals faced by Prahlad climaxed in the emanation of Narahari or Narasimha who destroyed Hiranya Kasyapu. Prahlada never lost faith in the Lord despite all his ordeals.This legend is celebrated on the full-moon or poornima night of Holi by lighting huge bonfires called Holika Dahan or the sacrifice of Holika.
The uncles had pink hair, the children running around with water pistols had crimson faces and all the aunties (wearing sarees) were covered in all sorts of colours. It was beautiful, priceless to be precise.
It take several days to week for those post-Holi stains on people to go and that explosions of colour on the streets to fade away. You can never witness anything like this, anywhere!!.
It’s a time again for people to play with their friends, laugh, meet others and forgets about any of their worries. We must heartily enjoy the festival which brings us together. The Festival where Family and friends gather and play to their hearts, they spread love with colors and enjoy every moment with each other.