13 March 2017
In spite of being such a colourful and joyous festival, there are various aspects of Holi which makes it so significant for our lives. Though they might not be so apparent, but a closer look and a little thought will reveal the significance of Holi in more ways than meets the eyes. Ranging from socio-cultural, religious to scientific there is every reason why we must heartily enjoy the festival and cherish the reasons for its celebrations.
Very few people know that Holi has great scientific significance. Our forefathers started the trend of celebrating this festival at a scientifically accurate time, that too, incorporating so much fun in the festival.
1: Holi comes at a time when there is change of season from cold to the hot. At this time, it is natural for our body to experience tardiness. To rejuvenate our human system, people sing and dance in this festival.
2: Moreover, the different colours have a varied effect on the body which discreetly contributes towards a positive feel. Western physicians believe that play with colours help to promote good health as colours are said to have great impact on our body and our health.
3: There is an age-old tradition of Holika Dahan (lighting of bonfire takes place on the eve of Holi) which has huge scientific significance. This bonfire mostly is conducted on crossroads using cowdung cakes.
The mutation period of winter and spring, induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 degrees Fahrenhiet. Following the tradition when people perform Parikrima (circumambulation or going around) around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it. And as it done at crossroads, the smoke covers maximum number of households, destroying the bacteria spreading diseases like measles and chickenpox.
4: People also clean-up their houses on Holi which helps in clearing up the dust and mess in the house and get rid of mosquitoes and others pests. A clean house generally makes the residents feel good and generate positive energies.
Holi gets us close to our religion and our mythology as it is essentially the celebration of various legends associated with the festival.
1: According to Hindu mythology, this day is celebrated in the memory of Prahlad's victory and the defeat of his aunt 'Holika'. The legend has it that there once existed a mighty demon king by the name of Hiranyakashyap who wished that everybody in his kingdom should worship him. His son, Prahlad became a follower of Lord Naarayana (Vishnu). Hiranyakashyap instructed his sister, Holika to sit in the burning fire with Prahlad in lap. She was blessed with a boon, as a result of which no fire could burn her. But the opposite happened, Prahlad survived and Holika was charred to death. Thus 'holi' is celebrated to commemorate the victory of virtue over evil.
It is because of this event, Holika (a bonfire) is burnt every year on Holi. The burning of the effigy of Holika is called Holika Dahan. and is called Holika Dahan.
2: Holi also celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna which describes the extreme delight, Krishna took in applying colour on Radha and other gopis. This prank of Krishna later, became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities.
3: Another legend of Holi which is extremely popular in Southern India is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. According to the legend, people in south celebrate the sacrifice of Lord of Passion Kaamadeva who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and save the world.
4: Also, another legend goes back to the kingdom of Raghu, where lived an ogress called Dhundhi who used to trouble children. She was ultimately chased away by the pranks of the children on the day of Holi. This is said to be the reason why the tradition of Holika Dahan is so popular amongst children and why they are allowed to play pranks on the day.
CULTURAL AND SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE
Celebration of the various legends associated with Holi reassure the people of the power of the truth as the moral of all these legends is the ultimate victory of good over evil. The legend of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad also points to the fact that extreme devotion to god pays as god always takes his true devotee in his shelter.
1: Holi helps to bring the society together and strengthen the secular fabric of our country. For, the festival is celebrated by non-Hindus also as everybody like to be a part of such a colouful and joyous festival.
2: The tradition of the Holi is that even the enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any feeling of hardship that may be present. Besides, on this day people do not differentiate between the rich and poor and everybody celebrate the festival together with a spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood.
3: Besides, Holi is celebrated at a time of the year when the fields are in full bloom and people are expecting a good harvest. This gives people a good reason to rejoice, make merry and submerge themselves in the spirit of Holi.
4: In the evening, people visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts, sweets and greetings. This helps in revitalising relationships and strengthening emotional bonds between people.
It is interesting to note that the festival of Holi is significant for our lives and body in many other ways than providing joy and fun. So this Holi, please don't hold yourself back and enjoy the festival to the hilt by participating with full enthusiasm in every small tradition related to the festival.