HOLI NEW BEGINNINGSby 333
This week marked the first official day of spring in India. To many this simply means brighter days and more weekend getaways, but to many more this time of year also marks the tradition of the Holi Festival. A title that might not ring a bell of familiarity for everyone, this event is instantly recognisable for its image of joyous crowds gathered in streets, revelling in puffs of brightly coloured powder. Originating from India and having now spread throughout most of the world, this is a festive tradition that thousands of people partake in each year. Like many different traditions, it celebrates several bygone stories that have since been rolled into one. Stemming from various Hindu legends, one of the most commonly accepted origins is the story of the god Vishnu. Legend has it that he saved his follower Prahlada from a pyre while her evil aunt Holika burned. To many, the Holi Festival is a celebration of good’s triumph over evil, which is also marked in many places by the lighting of a bonfire on the festival’s eve. Another myth connected to this yearly celebration is that of the Hindu god Krishna and his love, Radha. With dark blue skin, Krishna was anxious that Radha wouldn’t return his love and, so the story goes, he mischievously coloured the skin of his beloved to look like his own, using a blue powder. The coloured powder synonymous with the Holi Festival today comes from this story, and is called “gulal”. Now this event is celebrated in a rainbow of colours. The four main hues are red (for love and fertility), blue (for Krishna) yellow (for turmeric) and green (for spring). An occasion to celebrate love and dive head first into new beginnings, this tradition is one that can be embraced by everyone at any time, with gulal or without.
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