Holi Festival: Holikotsava is on 13th March 2017
Significance of Holi Festival
Holi, the festival of colors, joy and love is one of the major Hindu festivals that are celebrated during the spring season. Holi 2016 will be celebrated on the 13th of March (Wednesday). According to the Hindu calendar Holi is celebrated on the Phalgun Purnima (Full Moon), which as per the Gregorian calendar is in the month of February - March.
This ancient Hindu religious festival has gained popularity with non-Hindus residing in parts of South Asia as well as other parts of the world. Holi is predominantly celebrated in India, Nepal and in countries with widespread people of Indian origin and Hindus. The festival of colors has now become popular amongst Americans and Europeans.
Holi is celebrated by different people for different reasons. Some celebrate it as festival of love while others celebrate it as the triumph of good over evil.
Rituals of Holi
Holi celebrations in the Braj regions (places related to life of Lord Krishna including Mathura, Vrindavan, Gowardhan, Gokul, Nandagaon and Barsana) are the most notable. The traditional Holi festivities in Barsana (Barsana Dham or Varsana), known as the Lathmar Holi, is world famous.
In many parts of India Holi is a two day festival. The first day of Holi is known as Jalanewali Holi or Chhoti Holi or Holika Dahan. This day is celebrated by lighting a bonfire made of bamboos, grass and other items after sunset. It depicts the burning of Holika and the victory of good over evil. Holika Dahan is also known as Holika Deepak and in South India it is known as Kama Dahanam.
The second day or the main day of Holi celebrations (next day of Holika Dahan or Holi bonfire) is known as Rangwali Holi or Dhulandi or Dhulendi (also called Dhuleti / Dhulheti). This is the day when people play with colored powder or Gulal and throw water on friends and families. People normally prefer to play Holi with wet colors which are made by mixing dry colors with water. Many people also indulge in Holi revelry by mixing dry colored powder in a full bucket of water and throwing it on their loved ones.
Muhurta for Holika Dahan
Holika Dahan Muhurta = 18:46 to 21:09
Duration = 2 Hours 23 Mins
Bhadra Punchha = 23:45 to 01:04
Bhadra Mukha = 01:04 to 03:15
Rangwali Holi on 24th, March
Purnima Tithi Begins = 15:12 on 22/Mar/2016
Purnima Tithi Ends = 17:30 on 23/Mar/2016
Why We Celebrate Holi Festival?
Holi is associated with many legends. The main folklore involves that of Holika and Prahlad. Prahlad, the son of the demon king Hiranyakashipu was a dedicated devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu was piqued at this devotion by his son and asked his sister Holika to sit in fire with Prahlad on her lap. Holika had a boon that she would be unscathed by fire. Prahlad obliged his father’s wish and sat on the pyre while chanting Vishnu’s mantra. The crowd were astonished to see Holika burn and Prahlad emerge unharmed. To celebrate this victory of good over evil Holi is celebrated every year.
This festival is also known as Rang Panchami and on this day people drench each other with colored water and dry colored powder. Friends, families and sometimes even complete strangers are not spared with the chants of "Bura na mano Holi hai" (Don't Mind, It's Holi) whilst applying Gulal. The tradition of celebrating Holi with Gulal was started by Lord Krishna in Mathura when He smeared the face of His beloved Radha with a dark dye. Holi is celebrated with much fun and joy and with bhang (which is a type of intoxicating drink) and sweets.
Social Significance of Holi
Everybody participates in the Holi celebrations regardless of the social status, caste, creed and gender with passion and zeal. Holi is one of the most vibrant festivals of India and people clamour the markets to buy abeers, gulals (powder colors), water balloons and pichkaris (water guns). Traditional sweets such as gujiyas and mathari are made at homes.
Holi also signifies the end of the cold and gloomy winter and the arrival of the spring. Thus the festivities also include celebration for the harvest season. The spirit of Holi is about hope, happiness and peaceful existence and it brings together communities and different religious and ethnic sects.
Holi is one of those rare festivals where people forget about their differences and inhibitions and come together to have fun. The color fights and the frolicking occur in the streets, parks, outside temples and buildings. Many groups carry musical instruments and drums and go from place to place singing and dancing. People visit the homes of family and friends to apply colors and drench them in water and have delicacies.
There is another cultural and spiritual significance to Holi. It is the festival to rid oneself of past mistakes, put an end to conflicts with others by meeting them and it is a day to forgive and forget; on this day people pay or write-off debts. People start their lives anew as it is also the day that some believe is the start of the New Year.