Holi is not just about colors and balloons but has much deeper meaning. India is known for its diversity and it is interesting to note that in each state it is celebrated differently. While in the Northern part of the country, Holi is all about colors and bhaang, in the Western part of the country (Maharashtra) it is celebrated by hanging maakhan handis and remembering maakhan chor Lord Krishna. These states have different legends but the crux of Holi is same – the defeat of evil and celebration of good. So let’s see 5 interesting Holi legends from different parts of India.
#5 Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad
This is the most popular holi legend that you may know of. Hiranyakashyapu was the most atrocious demon. He sought immortality for which he did penance to seek the blessings of Brahma. But his son, Prahlad was an arduous devotee of Vishnu and the king wanted to kill his son. Every time the king tried to kill Prahlad, Lord Vishnu saved Prahlad. When all his attempts failed he asked his sister Holika to enter the fire with Prahlad on her lap. Holika had a boon that fire cannot harm her as long as she entered alone. The fire burnt her but Prahlad got saved because of his devotion and the king was hence killed by Lord Vishnu in his Narasimha(half man half lion) avtar. They are the most interesting Holi legends of India.
#4 Radha and Krishna
In the Braj region of India, where Lord Krishna grew up, holi is celebrated in a lavish style to muse upon the divine love of Radha and Krishna. There is a symbolic myth behind commemorating Krishna as well. Everyone knows Krishna had a dark colored skin. In his youth , Krishna despaired whether Radha would like him because of his skin color so his mother out of his desperation asked him to put any color on Radha as he pleases. Ever since, the playful coloring of Radha has been celebrated as holi and marks the love between the two, thus holi is also known as Festival of Colors.
#3 Lord Kamadeva
On hearing the immolation of Sati, Lord Shiva relinquished all the worldly responsibilities and went into deep meditation. This made all the gods worried and scared, and they approached Lord Kamadeva to help. Lord Kamadeva interfered in Lord Shiva’s meditation by shooting the love arrow. His intervention made Lord Shiva open his third eye and turn Kamadeva into ashes. However, the arrow had a much-required effect. It is believed, Lord Kamadeva was burnt to ashes on Holi and in Southern states of India, Lord Kamadeva is worshiped on the day of Holi. Thus kamdeva is considered on of the famous Holi Legends.
#2 Sikh Legends
Not only the Hindus, but Sikhs have traditionally celebrated the festival too, written as Hola Moholla in their religious texts. It is usually celebrated one day after the holi for a period of 3 days. Guru Gobind Singh, the leader of the religion, extended the festival of holi to 3 days as a festival of martial arts, which included horsemanship, athletics, archery and military exercises.
#1 Dundhi Rakshasi
The atrocities of Ogress Dhundhi troubled the kingdom of Raghu. The king asked his priest for a solution. The priest told the king about the boon Dhundhi had received from Lord Shiva – she could not be killed by gods or men, or by arms, or by heat, cold or rain. It made Dhundhi invincible but Lord Shiva also cursed her. Her curse made her susceptible to jokes and humor. He advised that in the month of Phalgun it is neither cold nor hot. Boys of the village should collect a heap of wood and set it on fire and go around fire thrice while laughing, joking, singing, and clapping. The noise would kill the Ogress. And that is how the ogress was killed.
Now that you know about the most interesting Holi legends, we encourage you to have fun Holi but only use natural colors. Pukke colors use dyes that may cause skin and eye diseases. Holi is about rejoicing of good winning over evil and embarks the Diversity in India. Wish you a very Happy Holi!
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