Holi, The Joyous Festival Of Colors, Is This Sunday!

By Meera Dolasia on March 10, 2017

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Holi (Photo Credit: Steven Gerner CC 2.0 via Flickr)

Holi, the spring festival of colors that will be celebrated on Sunday, March 12, is one of India’s most anticipated events. Observed annually on the last full moon day of the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna, the holiday entails taking to the streets early in the morning to douse strangers and friend alike, with colored powder and water. However, unlike the copycat color runs in the US, revelers do not have to race five or ten kilometers to participate!

As with all Indian festivals, there are numerous myths attached to the origin of Holi. The most popular one credits it to Hiranyakashipu, the king of demons, and his son Prahlada. According to the legend, the king was unhappy with his son’s devotion to Lord Vishnu, the protector of humanity. When all efforts to dissuade him failed, Hiranyakashipu turned to his sister Holika for help.

Lathmar Holi at Krishna Temple (Photo Credit: Narender9 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The demon goddess, who was born with the power to resist heat, invited Prahlada to join her inside a burning fire. However, thanks to divine protection from Lord Vishnu, the young boy emerged unscathed, while the ‘fireproof’ Holika burned to ashes. The locals celebrated the victory of good over evil with colorful powder, and a fun tradition was born. To this day, Hindus everywhere cleanse the air of evil spirits by igniting a bonfire the night before Holi.

In the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Holi celebrates the love between the mischievous Hindu deity Krishna and his beloved Radhika. Since eternal devotion cannot be commemorated in a single day, the residents of Mathura, where Krishna was born, celebrate the festival for an entire month, with different events scheduled each day. The highlight is the Lathmar, or stick, Holi, which is celebrated a few days before the main event. On this day, women stage a mock battle to prevent men from placing a flag atop Radhika’s temple. The women 'attack' the men with bamboo sticks, while the men fight back with the only weapon at their disposal — colored powder!

Photo Credit: Steven Gerner CC 2.0 via Flickr

Though the reason for the origin may differ, the spirit of this colorful festival that marks the beginning of spring is the same. It is a day when people young and old shed their worries and inhibitions and come together to rejoice.

The celebrations usually end by midday, after which residents head home or to a nearby ocean or river for a quick rinse. Then it’s time for a scrumptious meal and a well-deserved siesta!

Resources: wikipedia.org, goindia.about.com

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Article Comprehension (9 questions)

  1. What is Holi?
  2. When is it celebrated?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Why is it important to continue to practice cultural traditions?

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Vocabulary in Context

“On this day, women stage a mock battle to prevent men from placing a flag atop Radhika’s temple.”

In the above sentence, the word mock most likely means:

(a) To mimic,...

172 Comments
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  • AdenSunday, March 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm
    Question:what does mock men's? Answer:mock means that to stop the indias. They always mock for your celebration.The Men have to stop the women. The women have to stop the men. The women attack the men with bamboo sticks. The men attack the women with they're only weapon in India. Color powder and color water to attack.
    • Aden Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 12:56 pm
      Question:Why is it important too continue to practice cultural traditions? Answer: I think it's important to continue cultural traditions because it's important for your family, and friends and also your kids. They would be a good thing for your cultral. It's could be fun for everyone and everything.
      • Aden Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm
        Question: When is it celebrated? Answer:It's celebrated in Sunday,March 12. It's a spring festival. It's nickname is the spring festival of colors. Holi is only celebrated in india. Women try to stop the men from placing the flag atop the temple. Women attack with bamboo sticks and men attack the women with colored colors.
        • Aden Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 12:42 pm
          Question:what is Holi ? Answer:It is themost anticipated events in Holi. It's only celebrated in India.It is a one of the numerous myth in India. They are going to celebrate it on Sunday,March 12. It's a spring holiday.
          • Aden EshetuSunday, March 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm
            Question:What is holi? Answer: Holi is one of the most anticipated events in India. They celebrate holi with paint and watercolor to everyone. Holi is one of the numerous myth of all. Holi was created by a notorious prankster. The boys name was lord Krishna and he created the holiday, Holi in india.
            • bella_bear09
              bella_bear09Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 2:07 pm
              That's a colorful event. I hope thery start doing it all over the world!☺
              • mallyFriday, March 24, 2017 at 2:37 pm
                I wont to go thar.
                • mallyFriday, March 24, 2017 at 2:37 pm
                  this is so cool
                  • RFriday, March 24, 2017 at 8:36 am
                    This is very cool I would love to do this
                    • Aden EshetuThursday, March 23, 2017 at 2:40 pm
                      Qouestion: What is holi? Answer:Holi is a spring festival that Indiana's celebrate. It's a celebration that is always celebrated on Sunday,March 12. It's a very,very,very numerous myth.Holi is actually the most anticipated events in the world.It was invented by a notorious prankster, lord Krishna.

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