Why is Holi Celebrated?
By Avi Saxena, Class 2 , Delhi Public School, Ambala, Ambala City
Prahlad: This story is about a young prince named Prahlad who was fiercely devoted to Vishnu, one of the three main deities of the Hindu pantheon. (The three main Gods of the Hindu pantheon are Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Together they symbolize the circle of life. Most practicing Hindus, although recognizing all Gods, identify themselves as either Vaishnavites or Saivities, i.e Vishnu or Shiva worshippers.) His father, Hiranyakashipu, was a demon king and demanded that everyone in his kingdom worship him instead of Vishnu. Prahlad was however, so devoted, that he stubbornly continued to worship Vishnu. His father then made repeated attempts to kill Prahlad. Finally he had his sister, Holika, who due to a boon, was immune to fire, hold Prahlad on a burning pyre. The story goes that Vishnu then saved Prahlad, who emerged unscathed while Holika was burnt in the fire. The bonfire that is lit on the night before the main day of the festival, signifies this victory of good over evil. Radha and Krishna: Holi is also said to originate in Krishna’s boyhood. Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu and is often considered one of the most human of gods. Krishna is known for playing pranks on the young women of his village, the gopis. The story goes that Krishna is playing with his favorite gopi, Radha and notices that her skin is fair while his is dark. He sulks to his mother and she tells him to throw color on Radha’s face so that the difference can be erased. Hence during the morning of the main festivities, people play with color and water, hoping to erase difference of color, creed and religion, in the hope that this is what will make it a truly equal society.