The vivid colors of Holi are absolutely mesmerizing, psychedelic even. If you’ve ever seen photos of India, you’ve probably come across some of the bright, playful shots capturing people smiling and tossing keliedoscopic powder into the air.
Holi traditions have even transcended Western cultures, illustrated in events like The Color Run. While the festivities sure do look fun, you may be wondering, where did the tradition come from?
The celebration of Holi commemorates the victory of good over evil. Legend goes that a Hindu demoness named Holika was called upon by her evil brother, King Hiranyakashipu, to help destroy the king’s son, Prahlad.
Prahlad refused to worship the nearly immortal king as a god, which made his father angry. Prahlad chose to remain loyal to Vishnu, known as “the Preserver or the Protector,” who is one of the most significant deities in Hinduism.
The angry king tried multiple times to kill Prahlad, and finally devised a plan, where he called upon his sister for help. Holika had a magic cloak that protected her from fire, so she took the cloak into the fire and beckoned Prahlad to sit there with her, amongst the flames.
Little did Holika know, the cape only protected her if she entered the fire alone, and so her brother’s evil plan backfired. Holika was burned to death while Prahlad survived unscathed by the virtue of Lord Vishnu.
Vishnu blessed Prahlad and removed the power of the king’s immortality, thus freeing Prahlad and his fellows from the wrath of king Hiranyakashyapu. Good wins!
While there are various beliefs on whether or not Holika sacrificed her life so Prahlad could live, or if her death was merely because of Lord Vishnu’s interference, Holi is named for the occurrence of ultimate devotion winning out over the king’s greed.
Holi was dubbed the “Festival of Colors” by Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to play pranks on the village girls by drenching them in water and colors. (source)
As the world celebrates Holi, be sure to stay updated on instagram for an insider view of all of the festivities! Want to get in on the fun? Be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting covered in color, and also to have a great place to stay when all the fun winds down. Check rates for hotels throughout India now on Elvoline.com
Have a HAPPY HOLI!