Ronit was very excited as his favourite festival Holi, the ‘festival of colours’ was round the corner. He loved splashing powdered colours on his parents, relatives and friends.
He was a lucky boy as his mother made many different colours with great interest, at home itself. Mother told him that she used the flowers of palash tree and dried hibiscus flowers to prepare red colour. She used dried leaves of gulmohar to get the green colour, turmeric powder mixed with chickpea for yellow colour and blue hibiscus and jacaranda flowers for the blue colour. He thought he was really lucky because everyone looked forward to his skin-friendly colours. He loved the rainbow and this was a rainbow festival for him. But he got curious and wanted to know why we play with colours on Holi.
To his surprise he discovered many reasons.
The first reason was in the legends of Holi which are as colourful as Holi itself. He listened with full attention as his mother spoke.
The primary theme of Holi is the triumph of good over evil. This takes root from the story of Hiranyakashyap, a demon king who believed he was immortal and should be worshipped like a god. His son Prahlad worshipped Lord Vishnu and this displeased Hiranyakashyap. Upon his orders, his demon sister Holka sat on a pyre with Prahlad on her lap. Holka was given the boon that she could not be killed by fire. But as the story goes, Holka was burned into ashes as the boon would work only if she was in fire alone. Prahlad carried the blessings of Lord Vishnu and came out unscathed. This burning of Holika, Holika Dahan, symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and is celebrated with a bonfire , a day before people celebrate this victory with colours, fun and laughter.
Why people play it with colours is another popular story in itself, of Krishna and Radha. Krishna’s skin is blue. When Krishna was a baby, he drank poisonous milk from a demon and so his skin turned to blue. Krishna was fond of Radha so he was worried about his skin colour.
His mother had a simple solution- apply colour to Radha’s face , and you will both look similar. And so, each colour speaks for itself. So, blue is the colour of Krishna, the god with blue skin. Green symbolizes new beginnings. Red is the colour of love and Yellow is the colour of turmeric, and is often used on auspicious occasions.
Holi is also a festival to celebrate the arrival of spring and the end of winter.
So, this festival fills the air with a bright spectrum of colours. Holi is a festival of love and friendship in which people play and laugh, forget their fights and become friends. The beautiful colours wipe out divisions and everyone is painted in the same colour.
Ronit was now even more excited than ever. He was not only going to play with colours but also tell his friends about the colourful theme of the festival of Holi.