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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anticipatedcleansecommemoratedcreditsdissuadedivinedouseeternalhighlighthumanityignitingmischievousmockmythsrevelersscrumptioussiestaunscathed
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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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“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,...

155 Comments
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  • jjWednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7:20 pm
    this vid lookes super cool in slow motion
    • CoolzWednesday, March 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm
      I am an Indian its so much fun
      • Aden EshetuWednesday, March 22, 2017 at 2:33 pm
        Question:On this day, women stage a mock to prevent men from placing a flag atop Radhika's temple. In the above sentence, the word mock most likely means: Answer:The word mock means to stop. The women want to stop the men from placing the flag atop of a mountain.The men want to stop the women from placing the flag atop of the mountain of India.
        • Aden EshetuWednesday, March 22, 2017 at 2:23 pm
          Question:When is Holi celebrated? Answer:Holi is alaways celebrated on Sunday March 12. It's one of the anticipated events in India. It's also the most of the numerous myths of all of India.
          • Aden EshetuWednesday, March 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm
            Question:Why is it important to continue to practice cultural traditions? Answer: It's important to continue your traditional because it's important for your whole family and your religons friends.If people invent holidays, you have got to follow they're directions.
            • Aden EshetuWednesday, March 22, 2017 at 2:11 pm
              Question:What is holi? Answer:Holi is a spring festival that's always Celebrated in Sunday, March 12. It's a nemorous myth.
              • Aden Eshetu Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 1:06 pm
                Question:When is it celebrated? Answer: Holi is celebrated in Sunday,March 12.This is one of the most anticipated events.It's always celebrated on the full moon. This event is an numerous myths attached to the origin of holi.
                • Aden Eshetu Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 12:58 pm
                  Question:On this day, women stage a mock battle to prevent men from placing a Flagatop Radhika's temple. Answer:In the above sentence,the word mock most likely means, to stop the men from placing a flag atop of the mountain in India.
                  • Aden Eshetu Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 12:54 pm
                    Question: What is holi? Answer: Holi is the spring festival of colors that will be celebrated on Sunday, March 12.It is one of India's most anticipated events ever. As with all Indian festivals, there are numerous myths attached to the origin of Holi. The most popular one credits it to Hiranyakashipu, It's the king of demons.
                    • kizzzzy@#star*Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 11:56 am
                      ok its cool but you have to clean all of that up and there wasting there time like...

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