Holi – the Festival of Colors

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Holi is a Hindu holiday that always falls in late February or early March, based on the myth of a female fiend named Holika. Together with her brother, an athetist king named Hiranyakasyapu, they conspired to kill the king’s son Pralhad because Pralhad was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. But, of course, their attempts to murder him always failed, because Lord Vishnu protects those who love him. In a final twist, Holika received a blessing from Lord Brahma, who claimed that she would thereafter be immune to fire, so she jumped into a fire with Pralhad. But – aha! Brahma’s blessing could only be used for good purposes, so Holika was consumed by fire and Pralhad was saved by the grace of the Gods.

So Holi is celebrated to rejoice in Holika’s extermination, and there are traditional bonfires to commemorate her death. On the last day of the week-long festival, people can be seen wandering through the streets, soaking wet and smeared with colored powder. On this day, it’s considered acceptable to pelt friends, family and neighbors with water balloons and colored powder in an outburst of youthful exuberance and a touch of spring fever.

At Ama Ghar, the kids, staff, neighbors and friends get into the spirit with a lengthy water balloon and powder battle – a good time is had by all, as you can see in this photo!

Comments 1

  1. The days prior to the last don’t have a lot happening except, the installation of the ceremonial pole called “chir’, on the first day. It’s a bamboo pole, fringed with strips of cloth representing good luck charms. It is said to symbolize the tree on which lord Krishna hung the milkmaids’ garments while they were bathing, unseen as they thought, in the Jamuna river of northern India. As the pole is put up in the street at Basantapur, the festivities and worship commences for the week. At the end of which its taken to a bonfire.

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