Here, MSc Sport Psychology student, Manisha explains to us all about the festival and how it is celebrated.
Holi is a Hindu festival, which celebrates good over evil, new life and love. This is celebrated as we come out of winter and into spring and so it also signifies good harvest and land fertility. This festival brings people together and everyone expresses love and respect for each other. Holi can be referred to as the ‘Festival of Colours’ because of its joy, enthusiasm and vibrancy that comes with its celebrations. This festival is typically celebrated in India but has become popular across different countries, though mainly celebrated by Hindus.
The story that Holi comes from, is the story of Hiranyakashipu and Prahlad. The story told begins, with a devil named Hiranyakashipu, who wanted to everyone to worship him as he believed to have more power than other gods and wanted to be devoted to. However, his son, Prahlad, did not worship his father but instead worshipped Lord Vishnu, one of the gods. Because of this, Hiranyakashipu was not happy with his son’s devotion to Lord Vishnu and so ordered his sister Holika, to murder her nephew, Prahlad. It is believed that Holika had the power to survive fires, but Prahlad did not. So she entered a blazing fire with Prahlad but Holika did not survive, but Prahlad did. This is because Lord Vishnu had the power to change this and so Prahlad survived but Holika was killed. Therefore, this story signifies that good will always beat evil and this is why Holi is celebrated. This is translated to modern day significance about treating others well and overcoming any difficulties. So within this festival, it’s a chance for to people come together, resolve hardships and strengthen relationships.
The way this is celebrated is through starting bonfires to signify the burning of evil powers, celebrations with friends and family through throwing coloured powder and water at each other. White clothes are typically worn, but nothing too extravagant… Though there are many extremes to this as some may go all the way with the coloured powder, or it can be just a subtle mark here and there! As with most Indian festivals, it is a social occasion filled with great food, traditional Indian sweets celebrated with family and friends.