It is finally time for some acceptable weather! As we step into Spring, we are also greeted by the highly spirited and widely celebrated Hindu festival of Holi. Holi is celebrated at the end of winter or usually on the last full moon day of the lunar month Falgun (February/March).
Holi has many purposes: it celebrates the beginning of spring, commemorates good spring harvests and fertile land, and serves as an occasion to renew ruptured relationships. The festival also has quite a story behind it that signifies the victory of good over evil!
The symbolic legend of Holi begins in the kingdom of Multan, ruled by King Hiranyakashipu, who we’ll refer to as “Hiran”. King Hiran spent years in austerity and penance and in return was awarded powers of immortality (the immunity to death by man, animal or god in the day or night) by Lord Brahma. Over time Hiran grew arrogant and proclaimed himself to be the ultimate god, commanding all to worship him exclusively, or to be killed. Prahlada (son of Hiran) disagreed, staying devoted to Lord Vishnu. The King was so angered by Prahlada’s devotion that he tried to kill him in various ways, ultimately foiled by Lord Vishnu’s mystical and protective power. Eventually, Holika—Prahlada’s evil aunt—tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. Holika could not be harmed because she wore a cloak making her immune to injury from fire, but Prahlada did not have the same advantage. As the fire roared, Holika’s cloak flew off of her and onto Prahlada, sheltering him from the fire. The flames devoured Holika and angered the King greatly. Lord Vishnu then appeared in the form of Narasimha (part human, part animal) at twilight, exploiting a loophole in Brahma’s gift to King Hiran, and killing the King to end his reign of terror.
The bonfire is a reminder of the symbolic victory of good over evil, of Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu, and of the fire that burned Holika. The next day, when the embers cooled people applied ash to their foreheads, a practice still observed by many. Eventually, coloured powder came to be used to celebrate Holi.
So this is your guide to celebrating Holi the right way!
STEP 1: SPRING CLEANING
It’s time to refresh and renew! Start your Holi with a clean and organised space. Storganize is here to help store your winter wardrobe and all things cluttering your space!
STEP 2: GET COZY WITH A BONFIRE
A bonfire the night before Holi is symbolic of the victory of good over evil, and a perfect time to hash things out with the people you have grown distant from. Renew your relationships and start afresh!
STEP 3: GET DOWN!
It’s finally time to party! Holi celebrations include dancing, eating sweets and spraying others with colored water or dry colors. A few of the traditional Indian sweets eaten on Holi are called gujiya, mathri, malpuas and the traditional drink of Holi is called Bhang made with cannabis, milk and spices.
STEP 4: MEET THE FAM
It’s time to sober down and sanskaar* up. This is the part you meet the entire extended family, distributing sweets and making awkward conversation. The evening of Holi is reserved to be enjoyed with loved ones.
Wishing Everyone A Happy Holi from Storganize!
*Term for virtue, good values in Hindi
Check out the link below to attend Holi on the Quad at American University