Holi, a vibrant festival featuring wonderful amalgamation of bright colours, unbounded excitement, intoxicating bhang, edibles and sweet meals and happiness, is celebrated all over India and adds a conspicuous element of splendour in our devbhoomi. It is not merely a festival of colour and happiness but also represents the arrival of spring, injecting a sense of positive aura in the atmosphere and encouraging everyone for new beginnings and hopes.
Behind the wonderful festival holds a very inspiring story of a dedicated follower of Lord Vishnu, Prahlad, who is known for his utmost devotion. The purity in his love towards Lord Vishnu, his dignified life standards and principles allowed him to establish good over bad.
King Hiranyakashipu, the king of demonic Asuras, had earned a boon that gave him special powers. Due to this boon, Hiranyakashipu grew arrogant and started having a misconception that he is superior to God. He demanded that everyone, including his son, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu worship only him. King Hiranyakashyap and his sister Holika came out with a very evil plan. Holika sat on a pyre with Prahlad and covered herself with a shawl that made her immune to fire. Lord Vishnu appears to restore Dharma and it was Prahlad who survived and Holika burned to death.
India, being a diversified state, witnesses different and unique traditions during any festive celebrations. For example in Maharashtra, the term is coined as Rang Panchami. In Barsana it is called Lathimaar Holi where women beat up men with lathi and shout "Sri Radhey" or "Sri Krishna". In Vrindavan, the festival starts with special pooja of worshipping Lord Krishna and celebrated for sixteen days. Furthermore, Guru Gobind Singh – the last human guru of the Sikhs – modified Holi with a three day Hola Mohalla extension festival of martial arts.