We all through our Dada, Dadi, Nana, Nani, Ma or Pa must have heard why Holi is celebrated as a colour festival. But in the hustle and bustle of life, at times, these mythological stories become hazy in our minds. So, let me remove the haze for you.
A symbolic legend is there to explain why holi is celebrated as a colour festival. The very word “Holi” originates from “Holika,” the evil sister of the iconic demon and king Hiranyakashipu. King Hiranyakashipu had earned a boon that made him virtually indestructible. The special powers of his had blinded him and he had grown very arrogant and thought he was God and demanded that everyone worship, only him.
Hiranyakashipu’s own son Prahlada however disagreed to this as he was a staunch devotee of Vishnu and this infuriated Hiranyakashipu. He subjected Prahalada to various kinds of cruel punishments, none of which affected the boy or his resolve, to do what he thought was right.
Finally, Holika – Prahalada’s evil aunt tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. Holika was wearing a cloak (shawl) that made her immune to injury from fire, while Prahlada was not. But as the flames went up the cloak flew away from Holika and encased Prahlada; and so Holika burned while Prahlada survived. Vishnu then appeared and killed Hiranyakashipu.
The bonfire is therefore a reminder of the symbolic victory of good over the evel, or Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu. The day after Holika bonfire is celebrated as Holi
Holi is an important festival of Hindus. It is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalgun (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima) which usually falls in March and sometimes in late February