‘Holi’ also called ‘Fagu Purnima’ is a Hindu festival that marks the triumph of good over evil. The people of all ages observe the festival all over the world with lots of happiness and excitement. Holi is also known as the harbinger of the spring season. Holi is popular for four main colors such as red, blue, green, and yellow that signify Lord Krishna’s love towards his beloved Radha, according to Hindu legend.
The festival is celebrated throughout the world by Hindu religious people. Holi falls between the end of February and the beginning of March every year on the evening of the full moon, in the month of Falgun, according to Hindu calendar. This year, Holi begins on March 1. In Nepal, Holi is celebrated for two days: the first day in a hilly region and the second day in Terai region. The festival is celebrated by throwing water at each other among friends, acquaintance and family members. Various colors are also smeared around the body, especially on the faces with full excitement. Colors are used by especially youngsters who celebrate the whole day until sunset.
The significance of the festival is associated with Hindu mythology. The very name ‘Holi’ came from Holika, the sister of the Hindu demon king Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu was granted immortality for five reasons: he could never be killed by animals or humans, indoors or outdoors, during the day or night, on land, water or air and by projectile or handheld weapons. Due to these powers, Hiranyakashipu started showing his boundless powers by killing those people who disobeyed his orders. However, he was shocked by the prayers of his son, Prahlad, who was praying for lord Bishnu incessantly against his father. The king became aggressive and decided to kill Prahlad. Hiranyakashipu applied various methods to kill him but lord Bishnu protected the child from all kinds of dangers.
One day Hiranyakashipu decided to kill his son by putting him in the middle of the burning fire when he was held by Holika. Hiranyakashipu mistakenly thought that Holika would be untouched by the fire she was granted blessing by god not to be burnt by fire. According to the plan, Holika took her nephew to the fire and sat in the middle. However, the cloak flew from Holika's shoulders while she was in the fire and covered Prahlad; he was protected but she burnt to death. Hiranyakashipu and Holika had simply forgotten the blessing of Brahma that the fire would not protect her if she was there with someone else.
Following the auspicious day, all Hindu people celebrate the festival marking the end of evil and beginning of good. While Hiranyakashipu and Holika came to represent evil, while Vishnu and Prahlad came to represent well. The story shows the victory of good over evil, which is why it is tied to the festival.
The significance of the colored powder comes from the legend of Krishna. The colors used in the festival symbolize the love between Lord Krishna and Radha as they cover their body regardless of age or social status. Red, blue, yellow and green are the main colors used in the festivals. They represent different things. Red reflects love and fertility, blue is the color of Krishna, yellow is the color of turmeric and green symbolizes spring and new beginnings.