Showing posts with label Holi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holi. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is The Hindu Festival Of Holi?


Major religious celebration held on the full moon in the lunar month of Phalgun (February–March), which falls towards the conclusion of the lunar year in northern India.

Holi is mainly a reversal holiday that is widely celebrated throughout India.

Holi, as the lunar year's last major festival, mirrors the pattern of cosmic disintegration seen in other units of time, such as the solar day or the mahayuga, the main unit of cosmic time.

In this pattern, the cosmos' order slowly deteriorates until all order is lost, but after a certain amount of time, the universe is abruptly, totally, and flawlessly reconstructed.

The Holi event is divided into two parts: a bonfire on the evening before Holi and the "festival of colors" on Holi morning.

Material for the bonfire is gathered in the weeks leading up to Holi, and although the items placed on it are intended to be old and worn-out (to symbolize getting rid of the old), much newer items are often placed on it as well, and this is a period when people carefully secure their valuables.

Various societal taboos are broken down in the days leading up to Holi.

Author Lawrence Babb recounts on the usage of vulgarity and bawdy talk at this period in his book The Divine Hierarchy, including printing the word "penis" all over town using stamps cut from potatoes.

Pranks like pelting passers-by with water balloons are becoming increasingly prevalent as Holi approaches.

Although such conduct is ultimately innocuous, it is completely undesirable in everyday life and represents the impending cosmic dissolution.

The bonfire is lighted on Holi night, signifying the destruction of the old, and people may hurl obscenities at the fire as a way of getting rid of enmities from the previous year.

The bonfire is said to have originated from the demon Holika, who attempted to mislead her brother Prahlada into being roasted on a campfire but was destroyed by the flames herself.

Holi, the "festival of colors," reaches its pinnacle the morning following the bonfire.

The merchants in the marketplaces exhibit mounds of powders in different hues, most typically in brilliant greens, reds, and purple; the colors are utilized as powders or blended with water, and are displayed for weeks before Holi.

People use syringes or balloons to play with the colored water.

Each participant takes a little amount of colored powder and softly puts it on the other person's forehead in the gentlest sort of play.

People smearing and soaking each other in colors, coloring each other's garments in numerous colours, and staining each other's skin for weeks thereafter are all examples of how people play with colors.

This, and all other Holi-related pranks, are invariably defined as "play" (khel), and the underlying notion is that no matter how outrageous the conduct or how sharp the insults, one cannot get furious with the people with whom one is playing.

The Holi festival is the one day of the year when the typical social structure is entirely ignored, as are the taboos against physical contact, which are primarily motivated by a desire for ritual purity.

Holi is also notable for being one of the rare occasions when socially acceptable individuals consume bhang, a narcotic preparation derived from ground-up marijuana.

The morning is a flurry of noise, confusion, and color, with virtually no regulations (at street level), symbolizing the anarchy of cosmic collapse.

In the afternoon, though, cosmic (and social) order is restored.

People bathe, change into fresh clothing, and visit without fear of being colored, and anybody brazen enough to pelt someone with colors during this time will be severely chastised.

The liberty connected with Holi has recently been used as an occasion for all kinds of antisocial conduct, especially in bigger cities: public intoxication, groping women, destroying property, and the chance to settle old grudges by physically injuring individuals.

Because of the turmoil, many individuals in major cities remain at home during Holi, "playing" with members of their close family in the softer atmosphere that is known as "genuine" Holi.

The government has taken some measures in response to the danger of public order, but the holiday's character makes it impossible to regulate—as a reverse celebration, the government is just another entity to be ignored on that morning.

Various government bodies have also attempted to prohibit the habit of building bonfires, however the issue here is primarily deforestation rather than social disorder.

See McKim Marriot, "The Feast of Love," in Milton Singer (ed. ), Krishna: Myths, Rites, and Attitudes, 1966; and Lawrence Babb, The Divine Hierarchy, 1975, for further details. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

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