Why do we celebrate Holi?

We all know why is Holi celebrated so vastly in India. What is its importance and the stories behind it. It is celebrated for two days, the first day being lighting up a fire and the second day for playing with colours. Both these days have their own significance.

The fire holi has a story of a child name Prahlad, who was the son of a demon king Hiranya Kashyapa. The child was an aderant devotee of lord Vishnu, which the father never liked and wanted to burn Prahlad alive. The sister of Hiranya Kashyapa was a demoness with power of fire and so fire could not kill her. The king asked his sister to take Prahlad in her lap and sit

atop a stack of wood. The fire was lit and miraculously the demoness was burnt to ashes but nothing happened to Prahlad. His devotion towards the Lord saved him miraculously. Hence this day is also celebrated as Holika Dahan. Later in the story, Lord Vishnu's incarnation as Narsimha (Half Lion and half man) emerges and kills Hiranya Kashyapa. Hence we celebrate this day to signify the good versus the evil. Within the Fire we are supposed to burn out all the evils within us, be it hatred, lust, unhappiness, corruption, immorality and any other.

Being a child I always loved the second day also known as Rang Panchami, as we used to get to eat delicious snacks during the playing time and an amazing lunch thereafter. It was fun playing colours with cousins and friends and all the elders as well. The surrounding used to get filled with a variety of colours and every person you could see would be having a colour filled clothes and colours from head to toe. Infact it would be difficult to identify the person. So much fun together. Happiness everywhere. But as I grew up I understood the importance of celebrating this festival in a more deeper sense. From all the festivities that we celebrate, the most important message that is supposed to be realized is, "Good always wins against the evil". So bring a change within yourself positively and see the world change.

I have heard stories of Krishna (The incarnation of Hindu God - Vishnu) and Radha, along with their friends (the gopi's) playing holi. Those days they used to play with coloured water made from flowers of Kesuda (The flowers are of the tree Butea monosperma or 'Kesudo' in Gujarati, also known as Flame of the forest). The colour used to be tangy orange. The water was boiled and the flowers of kesuda were put into it so that the colour of the flowers seeps into the water. The Rang panchami signified the love between people and a celebration of friendship. This day we should forget all the hatred and resentment and share our happiness and love with each other.

Conclusion: Festivities are a reason for us to erase all the evils within us and bring out all the good qualities. They have taught us to be one, as human beings, share sorrows, spread joy and be kind, caring and loving towards each other.

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