Holi 2016 – Wednesday, March 23
Holi 2016 festival will begin on Tuesday, the 22th of March and will carry on for 2 days till Wednesday, the 23th of March. Holi is celebrated on the Phalgun Purnima in the month of Phalgun as per the Hindu Calendar.
Holi is the festival of colors. It is the festival that unites the whole of India and people love to celebrate this day with grandeur. The festival of colors adds colors to our lives and it is the celebration of colors of brotherhood. Holi festival is celebrated with all irrespective cast and creed. The day is spent with fun and frolic by sprinkling colored water or powdered color on each other by moving all barriers so that people look the same.
Why is Holi celebrated?
Holi festival is celebrated each year by people to give thanks to the almighty for the good harvest. It is the day when people offer prayers to god to save the devotees of god and it also reminds people who torture other devotees of god that they would be burnt down to ashes. The Holi festival is the mark of victory of truth over lies and it signifies that devotes of god shall always be looked after by the almighty in terms of distress and sorrow. The people believe in god and they offer the best to god in this day. The ultimate victory of good over evil is marked by Holi. The festival says that honest and faithful people are always supported by god and they live a happy life.
Holi is celebrated with pomp and grandeur each year. From a child to a old man Holi adds colors to the lives of everyone. In this day people wear new clothes and they sprinkle colors on each other, be it powdered color (gulal) or colored water. Red, pink, green and yellow colors are seen everywhere, happy faces seem to roam about everywhere. Children are the happiest during this festival. They love to throw balloons filled with color on each other and enjoy time with their friends. Lots of sweets are prepared in each and every household along with other sorts of delicious kind of food. The people in India forget all the differences between rich and poor and celebrate this joyous festival. The Holi festival starts with offering prayers to god, playing Holi with friends and families followed by a sumptuous lunch. After this people visits the houses of friends and relatives in the evening and they exchange gifts. A big part of this celebration of Holi is “Thandai”, this is a drink which is made of milk, yogurt, sugar, ice, cashew nuts, pistachios and adding other sorts of flavors. The drink is a huge part of the celebration of Holi and people love to enjoy this drink on this occasion. The day wipes away all the sad memories and fills our lives with happiness and joy.
Celebration in West Bengal is a bit different during Holi festival where people love to put abir (powdered color) on each other’s face. It is the day when a lot of cultural functions are held in this part of Imdia and the special mention is Shantiniketan. The place is the home of Nobel laureate Sir Rabindranath Tagore and on this day pay homage to him by singing his songs, enacting his plays and dancing to the songs written by him. The whole ambience is pure and beautiful where girls and boys are dresses nicely and they perform functions throughout day.
Holi is the special colorful day where people in every part of India forget about their tensions and celebrate the festival whole heartedly.
Historical stories regarding Holi
Holi, the festival of colours is one of the popular festivals celebrated almost in every state of India during the spring season. It falls on the last full moon day according to the Hindu calendar. Holi is the festival celebrated with colours filled in water balloons, squirt pistols with water and large pumps filled with coloured water. On this day, most of the people wear white clothes and throw colours on one another. People sing and dance on folk songs and Dholak. On this day, some of the famous mouth watering sweets and snacks are Malpua, Dahi bada, Gujia, Papad matari and Puran poli.
STORIES AND MYTHS BEHIND HOLI
Bhakt Prahlad and Holika
This is the most common story behind the celebration of Hoi festival according to Hindu methodology. Prahlad a devotee of Vishnu was the son of demon king Hiranyakashipu. Prahlad continually devoted and prayed to Vishnu. His father usually gave cruel punishments to him. But these punishments cannot affect his prayers and belief in God. One day demon king wanted to kill his son. King made a plan with her sister Holika to burn Prahlad alive in the fire as Holika herself was immune to fire. Thus Holika clutched Prahlad in her arms and sat on the fire. But at the end, Prahlad survived and Holika get burned. Later on, king demon was also killed by Lord Vishnu. Thus Holi word originates from Holika which means to burn the spirit of the evils. It is the festival celebrated with colours after Holika born fire.
Love of Radha and Krishna
Holi festival is also celebrated with great joy in Mathura, Vrindavan and Braj in the memory of Radha and Krishna’s for their divine love. Lord Krishna at his young age asked his mother about their dark complexion as compared to Radha as she was so fair. His mother Yashoda suggested Lord Krishna to put any colour of your own choice on the face of Radha and change her colour. Thus Krishnaji did the same and from that day introduced the festival of Holi with a flavour of naughtiness. Lath mar holi is the name given in Braj.
On the next day of Holika dehan, Holi is also celebrated by the name Dhuli or Dhulandi. It was another story behind the Holi celebration. During the kingdom of Prithu, a terrible ogress called Dhundhi devour innocent children as she had a boon from Lord Shiva that no men or god killed her. She was not suffered from any heat, rain or cold. One day some courageous boys decided to chase and get rid of Dhundhi forever. The boys get heavily drunk by bhang, beating drums, making insult of her, making loud noise. They continued until she left the village. Thus, rowdy behaviour and bad language is acceptable by the boys on this day.
Sacrifice of Kamadev
According to one of the Hindu myth, on this day people offer sandalwood paste on Kamadev. It was believed that on this day, Lord Shiva came in anger and destroyed the whole world. Goddess Parvati requested Kamadev to help her in order to calm Lord Shiva’s anger. Kamadev disturbed Lord Shiva by his love arrow but Shiva in return opened his third eye and fired anger which turned Kamadev into ashes. Later on, Lord Shiva realized what he did with Kamadev.
So these are some of the historical stories of Holi that people speak of. The day is the day of colours which is awaited by each and every individual each year.
Food in Holi
Holi festival marks the beginning of spring season i.e. beginning of new hope. This happiness of this festival can be expressed in the form of food, colours and drinks. It distributes message of love and peace among one another. It is the festival of sweets and tasty food items. People prepare various types of delicious cuisines at home or buy directly from the market. Traditional food items like sandesh, saffron milk and payash are specially prepared for Holi festival. Bhang is famous and consumed in the form of pakoras, ladoos and thandai.
Food is the only thing that makes your festival more enjoyable. Some people wait for the Holi festival just to eat lip smacking dishes prepared specially for Holi occasion. Street food is also in demand as there is huge rush in the market. People go for shopping and after getting tired they enjoy the tasty food like pav bhaji, golgappas, chowmein, chat papri, aaloo tikki, paneer tikka, dahi vada and many other delicious items.
Thandai and Bhang on Holi
Bhang is termed as the official drink on the festival of Holi. It is associated with Lord Shiva as these leaves are also used in puja. Preparing bhang in the form of thandai, pakoras, lassi and vadas is a tradition on Holi. Not all people like to drink or eat dishes made of bhang but it is more common in Varanasi and Banaras.
Thandai is also used during the festival of Holi as a traditional and refreshing drink. When people get exhausted during the time of their play, a glass of thandai provides them instant energy. Bhang thandai is very famous among the bhang lovers. It is made up of water when mixed with seeds of watermelon and muskmelon, sugar, dry fruits, some herbs, rose syrup, lotus stem seeds, saffron along with some bhang as optional.
Some of the thandai and bhang recipes of Holi
In a pan, take ½ litre water and add 1 and a 1/2 cup sugar in it. Soak sugar for 2 hours in water.
In another bowl, soak all the dry ingredients in 2 cup of water for about 2 hours. Dry ingredients include ½ tbsp khus khus, 1 tbsp dried watermelon seeds (kharbuje ke beej), ½ tbsp aniseed, 1tbsp peppercorns (sabut kali mirch), 15 leaves of cannabis (bhang), ¼ cup fresh rose petals.
After 2 hours, gring this soaked mixture into a fine paste and strain it with the help of muslin cloth or strainer until the residue becomes completely dry. Extract all the liquid into a separate bowl.
Add sugar syrup, cardamom powder and 1 cup milk into the strained mixture.
Place this liquid in the fridge for 2-3 hours and serve it chilled with chopped almonds sprinkle on it.
Take a bowl and mix 2 and a ½ cup yogurt, 2 tbsp whipped cream and 2 tbsp khus syrup. Let this mixture to cool in a fridge.
Blend ¼ cup pistachios with some bhang leaves to make a fine paste.
In this paste add the yogurt mixture and blend it for 2 more minutes.
Serve chilled with ice cubes.
BHANG KE PAKORE
Take a big bowl and mix 4 cup besan, 1 tbsp soda, 5gm ajwain, 1 tbsp red pepper, 2 and 1/2 tbsp pomegranate, 10gm bhang seeds and salt according to taste. Mix all these ingredients with water to make it a pouring consistency.
Heat oil in a pan.Dice vegetables like 2 potatoes, 1 onion, 1 cup cauliflower, 150gm brinjal and 1 cup spinach.
Dip the vegetables one by one in the besan batter so that it gets covered from all the sides.
Deep fry the vegetables on medium flame till they turn crisp and golden in colour.
Serve them hot by draining the excess oil on absorbent paper.
HOT BUTTERED BHANG
Take a pan and melt half cube butter. Break 1/3 oz marijuana leaves and add with melted butter. Add 8 ounce vodka just after the leaves get sizzled with the butter. Boil the mixture with continuous stirring for the next 30 seconds. During the boiling procedure, add a pinch of cardamom seeds. Off the gas, strain the mixture and mash it with the help of strainer. Serve this liquid in a wine glass.
The Evening Bonfire
Holi is the festival of every state and every religion. According to Hindu tradition, to celebrate the festival they have to light bonfire one day before Holi. The evening of bonfire is also known as ‘Choti Holi’ or ‘Holika Dahan’. Bonfires get enlighten in an open area by different families, colonies, societies, etc that brings them together on one platform. It is celebrated in a traditional way with ongoing pooja and mantras by pundit ji. Mahurat is also set in advance depending upon the Hindu Panchang calendar. All the members of the family throw grains, coconut, popcorns, chickpeas, etc on these bonfires. They sing, dance and throw colours around the bonfires.
Holika Dahan is celebrated one day before Holi all over India in a traditional way. There are many legendary stories behind the celebration of Holi festival. The tradition of bonfire comes from the story of Prahlad and Holika. It tells us about the victory of Prahlad and defeat of Holika. Prahlad was the son of king Hiranyakashyap. Prahlad worshipped Lord Vishnu and offered prayers for them. Holika was the sister of demon king. She was blessed by the God that no fire could harm her. Thus, king decided with his sister Holika to sit on the fire along with his son Prahlad. But at the end, Holika get burned where as Prahlad survived. According to the study of Purans, bonfire signifies the victory of good over the bad.
Lightning of bonfire is also mentioned in Vedas and Purans. Even in that period of time, sacred fire was burnt and mantras were read all the night in order to force demonic forces to get destructed. Holka is the word of Sanskrit which means parched grains or fried cereals. These grains are used in every Havana. Thus even at that time, the remaining ash was smeared on the forehead to get rid of all the bad evils from their life. From the time of Ved-Puran, Holi is celebrated in the same manner. People smear the remaining ash on their forehead and make use of wheat and oats in pooja. This ash also protects us from various bacterial diseases.
The bonfire is fully decorated with mango leaves, flowers, pearls, stones, twigs, etc to make it more attractive. On the very next day, people throw colours and gulal by saying a tag line ‘bura na mano Holi hai’. They send their blessing to their friends and relatives in the form of gifts and sweets. It is two day long festival. You will find these bonfires gets enlighted almost everywhere before one day of the Holi festival.
In some places people clean their house and burn their old clothes in this bonfire. Even in some communities, a pot full of barley seeds is placed before the lightning of the bonfire to roast them. These seeds are distributed to eat among all at the end of the bonfire. Special sweets like Gujia, puran poli, etc are prepared on the eve of Holi and get distributed among all.
Common food prepared on Holi
- Gujhiya: Gujhiya is Rajasthan’s famous sweet dish prepared especially on the eve of Holi. These are the sweet dumplings made of maida filled with heavy stuffing of khoya or dry fruits. These gujhiyas are oily in nature as they are deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup.
- Puran poli: Puran poli is one of the famous dishes of Karnataka. It is specially prepares in every state for Holi. It is prepared in the form of puri with a stuffing of dal with gur to give it a form of sweet dish.
- Besan papri: Besan papri is made of gram flour with some spices and salt added into it.
- Thandai: Special drink called thandai is specially prepared on Holi festival. It helps to rejuvenate human body in order to boost the energy level. Milk, dry fruits like almonds and pistachios, sugarcane juice, medicinal herbs and rose petals are used to prepare this thandai.
- Bhang ke vade or pakode: Bhang pakodas or vade are prepared like normal pakodas with the help of gram flour. To give it a twist people add little bhang along with sugar and ghee.
- Bhang lassi: This is a special type of lassi prepared with the leaves and buds of cannabis. During the Holi festival, bhang lassi is easily available in the market. It is prepared by mixing this paste of cannabis with milk, spices and butter.
- Malpua: It is sweet dish served with rabri and can be stored it for a long time.
- Shakkar pare or namak pare: These are made up of whole wheat flour. Shakkar pare are sweet in taste by adding gur in it where as namak pare are prepared by adding salt, semolina and thymol seeds.
After doing lot of masti and fun with water and colours, people enjoy Holi festivalwith the delicious delights served especially on the occasion of Holi. Enjoy Holi festival with these yummy food items by taking care of your health.
Impact of Holi colours on the environment
Holi is celebrated as a colour festival. It is celebrated in the spring season as it is believed that after Holi festival winter comes to an end. Thus it marks as the beginning of summers. Today Holi is celebrated in a simple way that is by using natural colours made of neem, haldi, kumkum and bilva. But now a day’s, toxic colours with harmful chemicals used to play by the young boys and girls. These harmful chemicals not only affect human health but also disturb ecological balance.
The artificial colours used in this festival contain harmful chemicals like alkalis, acids, glass powder, mica and many more. These colours can cause various skin related infections like itching, irritation, bumps, rashes and redness. These colours are easily available open in the market without any packing details including its toxity, purity and chemical nature. These colours have a direct impact on three systems of our body- respiratory system, eyes and on the skin. It also cause toxicity because of the metals contain in these colours which also affect liver, nerves and kidneys.
Some people use water and soil to play Holi. On doing biochemical analyses by the experts, large numbers of bacteria are found in soil and water which directly affects the skin. Whenever these toxic or artificial colours mix with water or soil, creates hazardous effect on the fertility of soil, water resources, disturb ecosystem and directly affects the microorganism living in soil or water as their habitats.
These harmful colours are available in three forms and all has its own harmful effect.
- Paste: Paste colours contain various toxic chemicals like lead oxide, copper sulphate, aluminium bromide, mercury sulphite, etc which directly affects eyes including temporary blindness and puffiness, causes skin cancer and other skin related allergies.
- Dry colours: Dry colours are also termed as gulal. It is made of two components-colourant and base. Colourant contains toxic substance where as base contains silica or asbestos as both causes skin diseases, affect the eyes and cause asthma.
- Water colours: Wet colours are used by mixing them in water usually contains Gentian violet used a colour concentrate which causes dermatitis and skin discolouration.
The dry colours when spread in the air give rise to air pollution as these colours get mixed with the gases present in the air. The water thus used during Holi can cause water pollution and give rise to scarcity of water. Large quantity of water is used on this day for playing, cleaning coloured clothes and floor, bathing and for many more purposes. This disturbs the natural balance.
There are many ways to celebrate eco friendly Holi with light colours, water balloons, pichkaris, water guns, sprinkles and paint. Many environmental groups like Navdanya, Development Alternatives and The Clean India groups are taking sever strict actions against using these harmful colours which not only affects human body but also animals, plants and our environment. Their main aim is to guide teachers and children to teach them how to make use of natural colours and what are the effect of using these toxic colours on the environment.
An Eco friendly way to play Holi
Festivals are an important highlight of the Indian culture as it gives a chance to bring out our very own people and celebrate the various occasions together. With its versatile significance every festival occasion is backed by a historical or mythological relevance. India is regarded as the heart of celebrations with so many festivals to celebrate since it dives into such a rich culture. The most popular festivals being Holi, Diwali, Christmas and many more like these which had a certain charm to the overall Indian look.
Holi is one of the most popular festivals celebrated across the country. The occasion is spread across two days and comes in spring. It is rightly called as the festival of colors and is played with your family and friends using color powder, water and water balloons too. This day is called the “Rang Panchami”. However the night before this celebration log of wood are gathered and burnt to create a bonfire and celebrate the “Holika” it’s more like worshipping the good over evil and praying for only goodness and happiness. This way Holi is brought in and celebrated the next day.
In the last few decades it is observed that in the name of festival a lot of environmental harm is done. Especially with regards to a festival like Holi where water is used in unprecedented amounts just for the sake of enjoyment and a lot of it is wasted. In the era where water is an important commodity such a use can be harmful in the long run resulting in its scarcity. Another notable thing to highlight these days the concept of rain dance has also been created to celebrate holi festival on a much larger scale which has resulted even more wastage of water only increasing the worry. The bonfire created using the woods result in polluting the air another example of environmental pollution which can be harmful to the people as well. Most of the times the colors used to play Holi are synthetic colors which can result in severe skin diseases and also cause skin damage too. These hard colors spread around the neighborhood and spoil the walls and disintegrate the public properties as well. The colors are significantly not healthy and most of the times are not supplied by reputed companies as well.
Taking into consideration the above scenarios attempts have been in made in the last few years to celebrate holi which is more eco friendly and helping to minimize the ecological imbalance as well. The upcoming generation specially makes a conscious effort to play a dry holi in order to not waste water. Also it is recommended to use herbal colors which do not cause any type of skin discomfort and is safe. There should be minimal use of water balloons a well as it still leads to wasting water. To play an eco friendly holi is the most reliable alternative where you can enjoy the festival and still make an effort to save the environment and monitor ecological balance as well.
Holi Images and Holi wallpaper
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