Holi festival of colors welcomes springtime

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

The Holi springtime festival has been celebrated with colorful fun for centuries and centuries.

Hinduism, often called “the oldest religion” in the world, is a faith most widely practiced in India. On March 6, Hindus across the globe celebrated Holi, the festival of colors that brightly honors the arrival of spring at the end of the winter season. Bonfires were lit, prayers were offered, and then Hindus threw colored powder and liquids at each other shouting, “Happy Holi!”

Holi’s celebrations in India can get especially rowdy, including dunking people into mud, squirting colored water on strangers, and generally going wild with gift-giving, yummy foods, and eye-candy decorations. The origins of Holi center around the story of Prahlada, a boy who worshipped the sacred god Vishnu, despite being the son of demon king Hiranyakashipu. None too pleased by Prahlada’s allegiance to good, the evil Hiranyakashipu ordered his son to sit in the fiery lap of the boy’s fireproof demoness sister, Holika. Miraculously, it was Holika who burned and the boy was left unharmed, and so the tradition of lighting bonfires was born.

Holi also celebrates the love of Radha and Krishna, the divine couple, as well as Kama, the Hindu god of love who risked being burned to death by Lord Shiva to save the world. Lord Shiva felt bad, of course, so he gave Kama immortality in invisible form. So, if you were wondering why colorful powders and liquids were being tossed around on Tuesday, just remember – the Holi festival of colors is ringing in the springtime with rainbow fun, while honoring the fiery passion of the Hindu gods!

Featured image courtesy of FaceMePLS on Flickr. Image of Holi illustration courtesy of Biswajit Das on Flickr.