Features

CULTURE CORNER: Holi Festival

Holi is an action-packed festival held once a year by Hindus which celebrates the victory of good over evil. It also commemorates the end of winter and the abundance of the upcoming spring harvest season. Holi takes place at a time when the fields are in full bloom. The colorful festival bridges the social gaps between people and renews relationships. In 2014, Holi will take place on Monday, March 17th.

The Holi celebration begins with the burning of Holika. This is a huge bonfire. Taking place on the eve of Holi, it begins the peak of celebration and activity.

Throughout the whole day, people throw color-pigmented water on anyone who crosses their path. Children especially take this day very seriously. They go to markets days before to stock up on all the colors available. Markets are crazy at this time, since all colors are in high demand by everyone.

The most enjoyable tradition of Holi, of course, apart from the throwing of colors, is the tradition of breaking the pot. Here, a pot of buttermilk is hung high on the streets. Men then come together as a team to form a human pyramid high enough to reach the pot. The person all the way on the top uses his head to break the pot. Throughout this whole thing, the women throw buckets of water while singing Holi folk songs to the men. The tradition has its roots in the lord Krishna and his mischievous ways. He loved buttermilk so much that he would steal it from every house in the village. To hide the butter from him, women would hang the buttermilk high up, not allowing him to reach!

In the South, the festival is believed to also give good health. The day after the burning of Holika, people take the ashes from the bonfire and rub it onto their forehead, along with Chandan mixed with the leaves and flowers of the Mango tree. They also believe the colors promote good health, and that the colors are good for the body. Doctors believe that for a healthy body, colors also have an important place besides the other vital elements.

Holi is also a day for cleaning up. It is a time when people clean their houses of the dust and the mess in the house and get rid of all the mosquitoes and other pests. They feel that a clean house makes the residents feel good and brings about a more positive energy. A clean house is a happy house. They are preparing their homes for the sun and springtime!

Holi has no limits, everybody feels it is their duty and responsibility to enjoy, and sure enough, that is exactly what they do. Everything from songs, dance, drinks, and food goes in extreme when it is time for Holi. As people say, “Life turns Colorful” when it is time for Holi.

-Christine Jacob

http://www.holifestival.org/

Categories: Features

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