Holi: History, Tradition, Prevention & More

Holi: History, Tradition, Prevention & More

It is time to welcome the springtime with Holi, the festival of color, which marks the end of winter and the beginning of warmer days. Despite being a Hindu festival, Holi is celebrated across the country, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and language. Holi signifies rejuvenation, revitalization, and restoration as it brings spring to revive life in the ecosystem after a fierce winter. It is celebrated with the colors, bonfires, and family get-togethers. Every color smeared during Holi has its own significance; red symbolizes love, fertility and matrimony. Blue denotes Lord Krishna while green hints the new beginning.

History of Holi

The festival is named after the demon king Hiranyakashyap's sister Holika. According to the Hindu mythology, the evil king Hiranyakashyap stops his son Prahlad from worshipping Lord Vishnu. Despite his father's denial, Prahlad worships Vishnu. This irks the demon king, and he orders Holika to seize Prahlad and sit on the pyre, as Holika has immune to fire the king assumes she would be safe. But, Prahlad's faith on Vishnu miraculously saves him and kills Holika regardless of her immunity to fire. Thus, the ablaze of Holika is celebrated as Holi. However, there are contradictions to this mythology, with other folklore and traditions; still, every narration gives the moral of "victory of good over evil."

A Love Story Behind Color Smearing 

The sagas of Holi tradition from other Hindu mythology revolving around Lord Krishna say that the tradition of throwing color on each other originated from the mythological love story of Krishna and Radha. Krishna was illustrated as dark blue-skinned and always complained to his mother about Radha's fair skin tone. To which his mother amusingly, suggested him to smudge Radha with paint, Krishna took it seriously and executed it. And thus, it is believed that the custom of smearing colors and splashing water on the beloved ones during Holi came into practice.  

Traditional Food During Holi

Along with the custom of meet and greet on this festive eve, the traditional food prepared for Holi is a must-try for everyone. Like any other festival, Holi is also filled with sweet dishes, and the most popular among them is the gujiya (stuffed dumplings) and lip smacking rasmalai- sweet dough balls soaked in creamy saffron milk and topped with pistachio nuts. And not to forget the Holi's special bhang (cannabis milk), it is a milky concoction mixed with the paste of buds and leaves of cannabis.

Key to Safe Holi

Although, it is a fun-filled festival, playing Holi could be hazardous as well. With the rapid outspread of the novel coronavirus in India, many individuals prefer to skip the Holi celebration this year, as this festival's celebration is all about water and cold stuff which could easily bring in flu and other virus-related infection. The people who decide to play Holi should take care of their personal hygiene and stay away from the ones suffering from cold and fever, along with their regular Holi precautionary measures such as oiling their hair and skin, staying away from synthetic colors and more.   

On the preventive measure, Dr.Rommel Tickoo, Associate Director of Internal Medicine says, “While people may know how the disease is transmitted, there are gaps in compliance. I’ll find that patients will come to me and take off their masks and put them on the table. The virus can spread through surfaces this way, and also, if you are coughing and sneezing, don’t take your mask off - it is there to protect the people around you.” (Source: Firstpost)