Origins of Holi

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What could be the origin of Holi?

The fervor of Holi festival is derived from the use of colours by lord Krishna, while the story of Kamdeva gives a clue to celebrate this festival to welcome the Spring. The story of Prahlad encompasses the victory of good over evil and the origin of Holi while the tale of Dhundhi gives a reason to play pranks. Image Courtesy: www.koraorganics.com

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What could be the origin of Holi?
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1 Story of Prahlad

There was a mighty demon king named Hirnakashyipu who had won all the three worlds of heaven, earth and hell and had thus, become very proud. He had enforced a law that everybody would worship him instead of gods. Image Courtesy: www.vietstamp.net

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1 Story of Prahlad
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Angry Hirnakashyipu

His little son Prahlad continued to worship Lord Vishnu with complete devotion. This angered Hirnakashyipu. Image Courtesy: www.ruchiskitchen.com

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Angry Hirnakashyipu
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Holika enters the fire

He asked his sister Holika to enter the fire with her nephew Prahlad in her hand. Holika had a boon that she could walk through fire unharmed. The wicked aunt agreed. However, she forgot that Holika could only enter the fire alone or she would perish. Image Courtesy: www.netglimse.com

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Holika enters the fire
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Holika is burnt

Blessed by Lord Vishnu, the child Prahlad remained unharmed but Holika got burnt and died. Holi is thus celebrated to commemorate the death of the evil aunt, after whom the festival is named. Image Courtesy: www.iloveindia.com

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Holika is burnt
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2 Story of Dhundhi

There once was a terrible demoness called Dhundhi, who loved to eat innocent children. She had won several boons from the gods that made her powerful. However, due to a curse of Lord Shiva, she was not immune to the pranks of young boys. Image Courtesy: www.artmagick.com

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2 Story of Dhundhi
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Driving away the demoness

One day, the courageous boys of the village decided to get rid of her forever and chase her away from the village forever. They drove Dhundhi to the limits of the village, beating drums, making loud noise and shouting at her and continued doing this until she left the village for good.

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Driving away the demoness
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3 Story of Lord Krishna

It is said that when Krishna was a young boy, he asked the reason for his dark color while Radha was so fair. His mother Yashoda playfully suggested that he should smear color on Radha's face too and change her complexion to any color he wanted. Captivated by the idea, Krishna proceeded to do so and thus, introduced the play of colors on Holi. Image Courtesy: www.nonzie.com

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3 Story of Lord Krishna
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Krishna Holi

Even today, Holi is one of the most important festival of Braj, where the men and women play 'latthmar Holi' in the remembrance of the playful throw of colors by Krishna on Gopis. In Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul and Barsana, Holi is a two-week long festival featuring play of colors, folk songs called 'Hori', folk dances such as Raas-Lila, staging the various aspects of Radha and Krishna are enacted. Image Courtesy: www.princetonol.com

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Krishna Holi
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4 Story of God Kamadava

Goddess Sati, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati, one of the sons of Lord Brahma, married Lord Shiva against the wishes of her father. Daksha did not invite her and Lord Shiva to a grand yagya arranged by him. When Sati came to know about the event, she thought it to be a slip of mind and proceeded to participate in the event despite the warnings of Lord Shiva. She reached the yagya and soon realized her fault and was infuriated by the insult to her husband, Lord Shiva. As a penance for her disobedience, she entered the yagya fire. Image Courtesy: www.exoticindia.co.in

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4 Story of God Kamadava
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Goddess Sati - Rebirth

When Lord Shiva came to know of this, he was furious. He started a severe meditation and renounced all work. The world's balance soon crumbled. Sati took rebirth as Goddess Parvati and tried to win Lord Shiva's. When she failed, she asked the help of Kamadava, who agreed to help her in the cause of the world. Image Courtesy: www.wordpress.com

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Goddess Sati - Rebirth
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Kamdeva Holi

Disturbed from his trance, Lord Shiva opened his third eye that burnt Kamadeva. It is said that it was on the day of Holi that Kamadeva had sacrificed himself for the good of all beings. When Lord Shiva realized his mistake, he granted Kamadeva immortality in invisible form. To this day, people offer sandalwood paste to Kamadeva to relieve from his burns and mango blossoms that he loved on Holi. Image Courtesy: www.dollsofindia.com

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Kamdeva Holi
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