Come Holi and the atmosphere would be suffused with colours and vibrance. Shedding the chill of winter, a new spirit pervades all around, when the nature beckons with blooming colours.
Along with it comes the message of Samrasta (harmonious equality), that has been core of the ancient Bharatiya tradition. No other festival in Bharat so expilictily carries this message as does Holi when people of all starta of the scoeity, regardless of their class, caste or creed, would intermingle to greet one another with colour.
It is time to shed inhibitions and hang-ups, it is time to forget what class or caste you come from, it is time to be together as human beings and celebrate collectively.There is Samrasta in it. A child is smearing an elder with colour, Children throw their pranks by with balloons and buckets on any passer-by in the street. Its their way to greet.
In the tradition of Holi friends and foes are alike. There is a vibrant spirit of bonhomie that echoes the message of Samrasta.
A CEO would greet a door-keeper or a milk vendor no less than a class teacher to his or her students.
You dont see it happening on any other festival. The atmosphere is suffused with Samrasta.
And it comes around the time when the nature has shed the somnolence of the winter, when the nature has started to bloom. Crops are lavishly spread on the fields.
It is Phalgun time as well. Phalgun is the last month of the Bharat calander and its colour is red. So no Holi is complete unless you sprinkle red colour around.
If Holi is largely celebrated in the north of Bharat, Phalgun celebrations abound in other parts of the country no less.
“Shigmo” is celebrated in Goa, parts of Konkon during this period, while Phalgun fairs take place across the region .
Though the popular Pauranic legend says there once lived a devil and powerful king, Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a god and wanted everybody to worship him. To his great ire, his son, Prahlad began to worship, Lord Vishnu. To get rid of his son, Hiranyakshyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, presuming that Prahlad would burn to ashes since Holika had a boon to remain unscathed in fire. The legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the lord while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the Holika dahan comes mainly from this legend.
Holi also celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna which describes the extreme delight, Krishna took in applying colour on Radha and other gopis.
Mythology also states that Holi is the celebration of death of Ogress Pootana who tried to kill infant, Krishna by feeding poisonous milk to him.
Another legend of Holi, which is extremely popular in Southern India, is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. According to the legend, people in the south celebrate the sacrifice of Lord of Passion Kaamadeva ,who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation. n