Spring’s arrival will be welcomed on 7th-8th March with the much-loved festival of colors, Holi.
Holi festival lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon) which falls in the Vedic month of Phalguna. The first evening is known as ‘Holika Dahan’ or ‘Chhoti Holi’ and the following day as ‘Holi’.
Symbolizing the victory of light over darkness and good over evil, Holi is a lively festival of love and color. Families, friends and communities take to the streets, throwing colored paints and powders on each other and soaking each other with water balloons.
This coming together with people known and unknown in the spirit of play helps people to put aside their differences. It is a time to end conflicts and forgive past errors – a day to move on, have fun, and connect with friends old and new. In this sense Holi symbolizes joy, love, unity and harmony among all people, regardless of their tradition or background.
The Victory of Good over Evil
To understand the deeper significance of Holi, we can look at the story from Indian Mythology about Prahlada, a boy who was completely devoted to Lord Vishnu, the Maintainer. Prahlada’s father, the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was angry at his son’s devotion to Lord Vishnu. He tried many things to change his son’s mind, but Prahlada’s devotion was so strong that he wouldn’t be swayed. Eventually Hiranyakashipu plotted to kill his son.
Prahlada’s evil aunt, Holika, tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. Holika was wearing a cloak that made her immune to injury from fire, while Prahlada was not. As the fire roared, the cloak flew from Holika and encased Prahlada, who survived, while Holika was burnt.
Through Prahlada’s victory over Hiranyakashipu, this story demonstrates the victory of good over evil. Each year on the night before Holi, a bonfire is lit after sunset as a reminder of the fire that burnt the demon Holika and allowed goodness to prevail. The following day, with the birth of spring, the victory is celebrated in a festival of colors.
The Return of the God of Love
In another story connected with Holi, the God of Love, Kamadeva, shot arrows of love on Lord Shiva who was in deep meditation on Vasant Panchami – an auspicious day that falls on the fifth day of Spring.
Lord Shiva opened his third eye and burned Kama to ashes. This upset both Kama’s wife, Rati, and Shiva’s own wife, Parvati. Rati performed her own meditative asceticism for forty days, upon which Shiva showed understanding and forgiveness out of compassion and restored the God of Love. This return of the God of Love is celebrated as Holi on the 40th day after the Vasant Panchami festival.
A Spiritual Renewal
Holi symbolizes renewal and rebirth, making it a perfect time for spiritual cleansing and self-reflection. It is a time when you can connect with your inner self easily and get closer to your spiritual side.
Since Holi marks the beginning of Spring it is also a time when Vedic astrologers use their knowledge to make predictions about what will occur in the coming year. This allows them to offer guidance on how best to prepare for upcoming changes and events using rituals and remedies.
- Honor Lord Vishnu by chanting the mantra, ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.’ Lord Narasimha was the God who killed the demon Hiranyakashipu, and he was a form of Lord Vishnu himself.
- Take some time out, connect with your inner self and reflect on your life goals. This is the ideal time to make a fresh start.
- Drop any negativity. Whether through meditation, yoga or breathing practices, find a way that connects with you to rejuvenate your spirit.
- Improve the Vastu of your home. Vastu is an ancient Indian system of architecture that aims to create harmony between inhabitants and their environment, and to manage the energy within the space. You can check out the Vasufy app to help you.
- On Full Moon Day you can invite friends to your home for a sacred ceremony (Puja) followed by food and celebration.
- Get together with others and celebrate with colors, keeping a spirit of openness, hope and joy.
Wishing you a very happy and colorful Holi festival and beginning of Spring.