Holi is the festival of colour. It is a fantastic example of Indian Culture. It is also known as Basant Utsav as it is celebrated on the purnima of Falgun month. It is a festival of two days-First Day is Celebrated as Holika Dahan and the next day is Rangwali Holi. This is one of the oldest festival of Hindu religion and it has mention in different Purana and old texts.Even in the old sculptures, the picture of Radha-krishna playing Holi was quite prominent.
But how it started ? What is the importance of Holika Dahan ? Basically if we go through the ancient texts, we find three reference as the starting of Holi
1.As per Skandapuran,It is celebrated as Killing of Demon Hiranyakashipu and his sister Holika
2.As per Bhagvat, This is celebrated for the eternal love story of Radha and Krishna
3.This is also celebrated in the memory of Sree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also.
Now lets discuss all of these sources one after another.
What is Holika Dahan : We all Know the name of Bhakt Pralhad. The father of pralhad was Demon King Hiranyakashyap. Hiranyakashyap had got a boon from Lord Brahma and was strated thinking himself as invincible. In this arrogance he stopped the puja of every god and asked every one to worship him only. But his own son, Pralhad, disobeyed it. Being furious he asked to kill Pralhad and handed over his son to his sister Holika.
Holika was equally cruel like her brother. She had a special garment that prevents her from fire. So they planned to kill him by bonfire by tricking the small boy to sit on her lap. But Lord Vishnu protected Pralhad and when the fire was set , the garment flew from Holika and protected Pralhad. Holika was burnt to death. This signifies conquer of good over Evil. Later, Lord took the incarnation of Narshimha, to kill Hiranyakashyap. As per skanda puran, the devotees of god started celebrating this after the death of Demon King as Holi and Holika Dahan.
If we go through Bhagvat, There is also mention of Holi, when Radha and Krishna celebrated this in Vrindaban. In childhood Krishna, was very jealous of Radha because of her fair complexion. Once he told his mother yashoda that it is completely unfair that he is dark and Radha is so fair. That time his mother suggested to smear colour on radhas face and change it to any colour he want. Krishna took this advice started playing colour with Radha and her friends. Thus the festival of Colour or Holi is started.
In ancient Bengali scriptures, there is mention of Holi or Dol in reference to Mahaprabhu sree chaitanya. In a day of Holi, sree chaitanya mahaprabhu was born. Later on when he shifted permenantly to Puri, he used to celebrate this festival with colour and chanting Hare Krishna.
However irrespective of its origin, it is integral part of Indian culture. Though Every year entire nation celebrate it with full enthusiasm, Up is mostly famous for its Holi. Vrindaban and the surrounded area which is also called Braja bhoomi is specially famous for it and many people come from outside to see the Holi of this area.
If you know anything more regarding Holika Dahan or Holi, please do let us know by comment.
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Debraj is a professional Astrologer with More than 10 years of Practical experience. Started learning Vedic astrology in a very early age around 12 yrs and almost more than 20 years in astrological study.