Holi is an ancient festival of India and was originally known as ‘Holika’. The festivals find a detailed description in the early religious works such as Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Gruhya-Sutras.
One prominent legend about Holi
There are various legends to explain the meaning of this word, most prominent of all is the legend associated with demon king Hiranyakashyapu. Hiranyakashyapu wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship only him but to his great disappointment, his son, Prahlad became an ardent devotee of Shri Narayan. Hiranyakashyapu commanded his sister, Holika, to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter fire without any damage to herself. However, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. As a result, she paid a price for her sinister desires, while Prahlad was saved by the grace of God for his deep devotion. Celebration of the various legends associated with Holi reassures the people of the power of the Truth. The moral of all these legends is the ultimate victory of good over evil.
Deep devotion to God pays as God always takes His true devotee under His shelter.
Significance of Holi
Despite being such a colourful and gay festival, there are various aspects of Holi which makes it so significant for our lives. Though they might not be so apparent, a closer look and a little thought will reveal the significance of Holi in more ways than meets the eyes. Ranging from socio-cultural, religious to biological aspects, there is every reason why we must heartily celebrate the festival and cherish the reasons.
Legends such as Prahlad help people follow good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful. This is important in modern day society when so many people resort to evil practices for small gains and torture those who are honest. Holi helps people believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and also to fight evil.
How to light the Holi fire ?
In the centre of the fire, there is either a castor-oil plant, coconut or areca-nut tree or sugarcane, around which dry cowdung cakes and dry wood are arranged. After a bath and recital of the place and time, the individual performing the ritual should first make the following resolve – ‘To get relief of the trouble caused by Dhundha, my family members and I worship Holika’. Next, the Puja is performed, followed by offering Naivedya.
After this, saying || Holikayai Namaha ||, the fire should be lit and circumambulations should be made. Then make a shrill noise with the palm over the mouth. After the fire is completely burnt, it should be extinguished by sprinkling milk and ghee. Fruits such as coconut, grapes should be distributed to people who have assembled there.
The next day at dawn, after paying obeisance to the ash of the Holi, it should be applied to the body and then one should bathe. In the morning, the ash of the Holi should be immersed in flowing water after a prayer to the Holi.
Do’s and Dont’s of the Holi Festival
- Burn dry wood instead of wet wood.
- Do not steal wood for the Holi fire.
- Celebrate Holi keeping in mind that its purpose is to unite Hindus.
|Preventing malpractices during Holi is our religious duty !
There are a lot of malpractices taking place under the pretext of celebrating Holi today; for example – Attacks on pedestrians, theft of property and goods and frolicking after consuming alcohol. Similarly, on the day of Rangapanchami, people indulge in malpractices such as eve-teasing, throwing balloons, applying dangerous dyes to the body etc. These malpractices harm Dharma, and hence, putting an end to these is our religious duty. Spread this word in the society and even after doing so, if you come across such incidents, lodge complaints with the Police.
Sanatan Sanstha conducts public awareness campaigns in this regard.
This is celebrated on the fifth day (Panchami) in the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of Phalgun by throwing a red, fragrant powder (known as gulal) and splashing colour water, etc. on others.
The fire, which shines with its brilliance on Holi, decomposes the particles of Raja-Tama components in the atmosphere and this helps activate the Principles of various Deities in the form of colours. Bliss generated from this is celebrated by throwing colours in the air. Thus, Ranga Panchami is a symbol of victory over the Raja-Tama components.
Ranga Panchami, played on Phalgun Shukla Panchami, involves the invocation of Deities and is a part of the worship of the manifest form of the Deities. Its purpose is to activate the five elements of radiant manifest colours and to touch and feel the Deities who are attracted to the respective colours. These five elements are a source, which helps activate the element of the Deities according to the bhav (Spiritual emotion) of the individual. Ranga Panchami is the worship of the saviour form of the Deities.
– Shrichitshakti (Mrs.)Anjali Gadgil
Significance of Ranga Panchami
As all of us know that Holika Dahan – the worship a day before Holi is associated with ligting a huge fire. The fire which is lit during Holi purifies all the particles of Raja and Tama components that are present in the atmosphere. This creates a pure aura in the environment and fills it with tremendous positivity that helps activate various Deities in the form of colours. Hence, Ranga Panchami is a celebration to express the Bliss of purification.
Thus, Ranga Panchami is a symbol of victory over the Raja and Tama components and respects the five Cosmic Elements (Earth, water, wind, fire and ether) that make the Universe. It is believed that the human body is also made of these five basic elements. The festival of Ranga Panchami invokes these five basic elements which help restore balance in life.
(Ref.: Sanatan’s Text – ‘Holy festivals, Religious festivals and Vowed religious observances’)