We all know Holi as the festival of colours where we can pull pranks on one another, throw water balloons at others, and obsess over drinking bhang. But hang on! There’s more to Holi than we know.
Read on as we tell you 7 fascinating legends about Holi we bet you haven’t heard before.
1. The most famous legend is that of Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap.
Once upon a time, there lived a demon king called Hiranyakashyap who wanted the world to worship him. But his son Prahlad started worshiping lord Vishnu instead. The angry father ordered his sister Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her slip. It is believed that Prahlad was saved because of his extreme devotion to lord Vishnu while Holika was destroyed. The ritual of ‘holika dahan’ comes from this legend.
2. The story of Radha and Krishna
Everyone thinks that Holi is about Radha and Krishna. And well, one legend says that too. It is a widely accepted theory that Krishna applied colours on Radha and the gopis and this prank of Krishna’s became a part of the Holi festivities. In fact, that’s the reason Holi is shown as a festival that celebrates romance in popular culture.
3. Holi is the celebration of the death of monster Pootana
Pootana was an ogress who tried to kill baby Krishna by feeding him poisonous milk. She was sent by Lord Krishna’s uncle Kansa, who wanted to kill Krishna the very moment he was born. In some parts of India, on the eve of Holi, people burn an effigy of Pootana. The tradition is symbolic of the victory of good over evil. It also signifies the end of winter and darkness as epitomised by Pootana.
4. Another popular legend revolves around Lord Shiva and Kaamdeva
Another Holi legend, popular mainly in Southern India, revolves around lord Shiva and Kaamadeva (God of lust). It is believed that Kama’s body was reduced to ashes by the force of an angry Shiva’s third eye, when he shot a flower-draped arrow at him to disrupt his meditation. On the tearful requests of Kama’s wife Rati, the lord restored him, but only as a mental image, representing true love rather than physical lust. The Holi bonfire comes from this event. Down south, people worship Kaamadev and his sacrifice as Holi. In Tamil Nadu, Holi is known as Kamavilas, Kaman Pandigai and Kama-Dahanam.
5. The story of Dhundhi, the evil witch
Once upon a time, there lived a witch named Dhundhi in the kingdom of Raghu. She always troubled children, who were eventually fed up of her. Dhundhi had once received a boon from Lord Shiva where she could not be killed by gods or men, and that she would never suffer from heat, cold or rain. All of this made her nearly invincible. But she had a weakness too. Lord Shiva had cursed her on one occasion and said that she would be in danger with crazy boys around. A priest suggested that after the winter was over, the boys should collect a heap of wood and grasses, set it on fire, recite mantras, clap, laugh sing and dance. This would soon cause the witch to die. Legend has it that on the day of Holi, a few village boys displayed their unity and chased Dhundhi away. This is the reason young boys are allowed to indulge in rowdiness during Holi.
6. The festival of Holi reinforces the power of truth and forgiveness.
Various legends associated with Holi bring to the fore the notion of good winning over evil. Tradition has it that on Holi, even enemies turn friends, forgetting hard feelings that may be present. That’s why the popular saying – Bura na mano holi hai!
7. Even science encourages us to play Holi!
Holi is said to be the coming of summer. It is believed that during the change of season there’s a lot of bacteria in the atmosphere, that can make us fall sick. That’s the reason Holi starts with the Holika bonfire. The heat from the fire helps cleanse the bacteria. Moreover, the fun and energy of the festival helps rejuvenate our body. Most importantly, natural colours are beneficial for the human body. These help our skin, improve our immune system and helps us get rid of diseases.
Article by : Surabhi Nijhawan
Courtesy Citation : Indiatimes.com