15 Feb Dallas HoliFest : Celebrate the festival of colors
Holi is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian subcontinent, also known as the “festival of colors” or the “festival of love”. In recent years, this festival has gained popularity in many parts of the world. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and for many a festive day to connect with others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the month of Phalguna of the Hindu calendar, which occurs somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March of the Gregorian calendar. The first evening is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi or Rangwali Holi.
How is Holi celebrated?
Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed the way Holika, the sister of the demon King Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire. The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi, the festival of colors, where people apply colors on each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and drench each other. Friends, strangers, men, women, young and old, everyone is fair game in the game of colors. Groups carrying drums and musical instruments sing and dance in glory of the Lord.
What is the significance of Holi?
According to a legend from the Bhagavata Purana, King Hiranyakashipu had earned a boon through severe austerities. Due to this boon, he could not be killed by a human being or an animal, indoors or outdoors, at day or at night, by astra (projectile weapons) or by shastra (handheld weapons), and on land or in water or air. Hiranyakashipu grew arrogant, and demanded that everyone worship only him. Hiranyakashipu’s own son, the young Prahlada, however, remained devoted to Vishnu and worshipped the Lord with great devotion.
This infuriated Hiranyakashipu. He subjected Prahlada to cruel punishments, none of which affected the boy’s devotion to The Lord. Finally, Holika, Prahlada’s evil aunt, tricked him into sitting on her lap in a pyre. Holika wore a cloak that was supposed to protect her from the fire. As the fire roared, the cloak flew from Holika and encased Prahlada, who survived while Holika perished in the fire. Vishnu, taking the form of Lord Narasimha; half human and half lion, at dusk (when it was neither day nor night), took Hiranyakashyapu to a doorstep (which was neither indoors nor outdoors), placed him on his lap (which was neither land, water nor air), and then killed the king with his lion claws (which were neither a handheld weapon nor a launched weapon).
The Holika bonfire signifies the celebration of the symbolic victory of good over evil, of Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu, and of the fire that burned Holika. At the holi fire, Hindus pray for the destruction of any evil in themselves so they can purify themselves and increase their devotion to the Lord like the young Prahlada.
In Braj, where Lord Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated in commemoration of the divine love of Shree Radha for Shree Krishna. The festivities officially accompany the start of spring, with Holi celebrated as a festival of love. In His youth, Krishna despaired whether the fair-skinned Radha and other girls would like Him because of His characteristic dark bluish skin. Mother Yashoda, tired of the desperation, asks Him to approach Radha and color Her face in any color that He wanted. This is exactly what He does with great enjoyment and for good measure applies color to the other Gopis as well. The playful coloring of Radha’s face has since been commemorated as Holi, the festival of love. Of course, Shree Radha is a complete devotee of Shree Krishna, but this Leela is one of his sweet enactments.
How will you celebrate Holi?
Join the grand Dallas HoliFest at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas on Saturday March 17, 2018 where the keynote speaker is His Holiness Swami Mukundananda ji, the world renowned and inspirational teacher of Yoga and spirituality! If you desire to purify your inner self and progress on the path of devotion to The Lord, plan to participate in the Holi celebrations. For details about venue, timings, and a huge list of festivities refer to the Holi Event Page