Why do we Celebrate Holi? Interesting Legends Behind the Festival of Colors

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Why do we celebrate Holi

The festival of Holi is widely celebrated in India with different traditions across the country. It is even a national holiday and involves applying gulal on each other, splashing water balloons, and eating traditional delicacies such as gujiya. Amidst the colorful hustle and bustle of this festival, have you ever wondered why we celebrate Holi? You would be surprised to know that there are numerous legends associated with the celebration of this festival of colors. 

Also Read: Importance of Holi in Indian Culture

The story of Radha and Krishna

One of the first works of literature that contains the story of Radha and Krishna is the Garga Samhita. Written by Sage Garga, the text also contains how the festival of colors originated. According to it, Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was tensed due to his dark complexion. He feared that Radha Rani, who had a fair skin tone, would not like him due to his complexion. Seeing her son growing weary, mother Yashoda asked Krishna to go up to Radha Rani and ask her to paint your face in any color she desired. Since then, this innocent act of love has been celebrated as Holi.    

Also Read: Holi Traditions Around the World

Source: MocomiKids

The Story of Lord Vishnu

why do we celebrate holi
Source: TemplePurohit

According to chapter 7 of the holy book of Bhagavata Purana, there was once a demon King Hiranyakashipur who was the ruler of Asuras. He had a boon that bestowed five unique abilities including that he could not be killed by humans or animals, he could not be killed by an astra or projectile weapons, he could not be killed by any shastra which were handheld weapons, and he could not be killed on land, water, and air. Fascinating, right?

Overwhelmed by these extraordinary gifts, Hiranyakashipu became arrogant and wanted people to worship him as their god. However, Prahlada, his son, disagreed and worshipped Lord Vishnu. Enraged by his son’s blasphemy towards himself, he subjected Prahlada to cruel punishments.

However, nothing really worked to stop Prahlada from following his moral convictions. Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashipur tricked Prahlada. Angered by their actions, Lord Vishnu, as the incarnation of Narsimha, helped Prahalada by becoming half-lion and half-man and thus, killed Hiranyakashipu.

Also Read: Variation of Holi in Different States of India

The story of Kama and Rati

Holi Stories
Source: ReligionWorld

Another popular legend as to why we celebrate Holi is Kama and Rati in intertwined with Shiva in intense yoga and deep meditation. On the occasion of Vasant Pachami, Goddess Parvati asked for the help of Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love, to bring Shiva back to the world. The yogi activates his third eye, turning Kama into ashes as the love god shoots arrows at Shiva. He even distressed both Kama’s wife Rati and Shiva’s wife Parvati. Acknowledging Rati’s 40-day ascetic meditation forgives her and restores the god of love. Accordingly, the festival of Holi is celebrated on the 40th day after Vasant Panchami.

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What is the main reason to celebrate Holi?

The celebration of Holi in India comes with numerous historical tales associated. In some places, Holi is observed to celebrate the eternal love of Lord Krishna and Radha Rani. On the other hand, some people celebrate the triumph of good over evil as the festival commemorates the ultimate victory of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha over Hiranyakashipu. 

What is the real story of Holi?

In India, the story behind the origin and celebration of the Holi festival differs from one place to another. In some regions, the legends of Holi are associated with Hiranyakashipu, a demon king in ancient India. Hiranyakashipu asked his sister Holika to kill Prahlada who was a devotee of Vishnu.  

Why is Holi played with colors?

Have you ever wondered how Holi became the festival of colors? Well, there is an interesting story behind this tradition. The inception of this tradition dates back to the period of Lord Krishna who was the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Lord Krishna used to play Holi by applying gulal on his friends at Vrindavan and Gokul. 

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