Key Points

Holi Festival India - Why Is Holi Celebrated In India

Holi is a Hindu festival that is celebrated in India and Nepal, the festival signifies the victory of good over evil, it is also a time to forgive and forget. The date of Holi varies every year, depending on the lunar cycle. This festival is celebrated at the end of the winter season, on the last full moon day of the month of Phalguna.

Holi is a very joyous occasion and is celebrated with great gusto. People smear each other with colored powders and water. They also exchange sweets and gifts. For many Hindus, the festival is also a time to start fresh, forgive and forget past quarrels and make amends with friends and family.

The festival of Holi is very popular among tourists. It is a great opportunity to experience Indian culture and to see people enjoying themselves. If you are planning to travel to India, then make sure you are there during Holi.

The festival is celebrated for two days, the first day being ‘Holika Dahan’ and the second, 'Dhuleti' or ‘Rangwali Holi’. Holi is a very ancient festival and has been mentioned in various Hindu scriptures, such as the Vedas and the Puranas. So, why is Holi celebrated in India? Read on to find out!

Holi Festival India
Holi Festival India


🔖 Topic Of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Bhakt Prahalad Story
  3. Final Thoughts
  4. FAQs


Bhakt Prahalad Story

Holi Festival India
Bhakt Prahalad

Among the nine avatars of Lord Vishnu that have appeared so far, the Narasimha is the fiercest one. Hailed as the preserver and sustainer of the universe, Vishnu transformed into a ferocious form to eliminate Asura king Hiranyakashyap, who had created havoc in the three worlds. Hiranyakashyap was the brother of Hiranyaksha who was killed by the second Avatar of Vishnu, the Varaha Avatar. When he saw that Hiranyaksha has been killed by Vishnu he swore vengeance. He meditated to Lord Bramha and because of his severe penance, the Devas were frightened and asked Bramha to pacify the king. Lord Bramha was impressed by this austerity and granted him a wish.

Hiranyakashyap tried to force Bramha to make him immortal. Bramha, however, could not do that because even he had to die someday. So instead the demon extracted from him various assurances. He asked boon to be that he would not die during the day or the night; on land, at sea or in the sky, inside or outside, by the hands of human or beast or by any weapon. Bramha granted him his wish, now he thought that he was immortal. With blazing eyes, he called all his associates together and vowed to kill Lord Vishnu and sever his head from his body.

Hiranyakashyap commanded his associates to go down to earth and attack the Brahmanas and devotees of Lord Vishnu. Wherever cows were protected the demon set fire to the houses and cut down the trees. Vedic culture places special importance on the welfare of Brahmanas, cows, and trees. Hiranyakashyap knew that they attacked these three; they would be destroying all that was most dear to Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashyap then set about becoming the most powerful person in the universe, trampling all beneath him and spreading a reign of terror but he was always in search of Lord Vishnu to kill him. Having obtained the boon, he considered himself the supreme God and forbade all worship of gods by anyone. In due course Hiranyakashyap had a son, his name was Prahlad. When Prahalad was born to Hiranyakashyap's wife Kayadhu, the demon was in the Himalayas doing intense penance to please Lord Bramha for obtaining his boon.

Interestingly Prahalad was destined to take birth at the humble adobe of Narada Muni, and none other than goddess YogMaya helped Kayadhu deliver her baby. Therefore, Prahalad has always been surrounded by sages who preached to him the greatness of Lord Vishnu. Prahalad grew up to be a great devotee and had the blessings of Lord Vishnu and the Gods, even when he was in his mother's womb.

Hence, despite being the son of an Asura, the boy turned out to be quite different from his father and exhibited divine qualities. From the beginning of his life, Prahalad spread light and love around him. His father tried every possible way to turn the boy into a demon like him but nothing worked. Unable to tolerate a member of his family worshipping his mortal enemy, he decided to kill his son. But it was not easy, he gave him to his soldiers to execute but they couldn't do it. He tried throwing him off a cliff, crushing him beneath an elephant, putting him amongst venomous snakes, and poisoning his food, nothing would work.


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Holika Dahan

Holi Festival India
Holika Dahan

During a particular attempt on Prahalad's life, king Hiranyakashyap called upon his sister Holika for help. Holika had a special cloak garment that prevented her from being harmed by fire. Hiranyakashyap asked her to sit on a bonfire with Prahalad, by tricking the boy to sit on her lap. However, as the fire roared the garment flew from Holika and covered Prahalad. Holika burnt to death, Prahalad came out unharmed, from that day people are celebrated as Holika Dahan and next day play with colors which called as 'Dhuleti'.


Narasimha Avatar

Holi Festival India
Narasimha Avatar

Prahalad's life was always protected by some supernatural force. Finally, in anger, Hiranyakashyap demanded Prahalad "where do you get your strength?" Then Prahalad replied to him that "from the same place you get your father, from Lord Vishnu." Hiranyakashyap asks Prahalad, "where is this Vishnu of yours! Let me see him so that I can kill him." Then Prahalad replied to him, "my lord is everywhere!" Hiranyakashyap ask again to his son, "Then he must be in this pillar too," and rushing at a nearby pillar of the palace struck it a terrible blow.

At that moment a fearful sound came from the pillar as if the universe itself was about to split apart. All who heard it were afraid. The pillar burst asunder and a terrifying form emerged from it with the head of a lion and the body of a man. This was Narasimha swami, the man-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who had come to protect his devotee, Prahlad. Hiranyakashyap was afraid to see him and tried to protect himself from Lord Narasimha swami, but after a brief struggle, Lord Narasimha picked up the demon and killed him.

He was killed at the point of dusk, neither day nor night, he was the lap of Lord Narasimha, neither land nor air, nor sea; demons death took place on the threshold of the palace, neither inside nor outside, he was killed by the Lord's nails, not by any weapon, Hiranyakashyap died at the hands of neither human nor animal but half-man and half-lion. Thus Vishnu's Narasimha avatar, whilst keeping all the conditions of Lord Bramha intact, still killed the demon Hiranyakashyap who had so cruelly tried to end the life of his devotee Prahlad. After his death, Hiranyakashyap was freed from his hatred of Lord Vishnu. Being purified by Lord Narsimha's touch, he gained liberation from the cycle of birth and death.


Final Thoughts

This story is also similar to other stories; all the stories present the victory of dharma over unrighteousness, the victory of humanity over inhumanity.

Holi is an important Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The festival is also a time to enjoy the company of friends and family, and to forgive and forget any past grievances. Holi is celebrated all over India, and is a wonderful way to experience Indian culture.

Remember to use only natural colors during holi, as the use of chemical colors can be harmful to the skin and environment also.


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FAQs On Holi Festival India

What are traditions of holi?

There are many traditions associated with the holi festival. Some of these include playing with colored powders and water, singing and dancing, and exchanging gifts.

Which state celebrates holi?

Holi is celebrated throughout India, but is especially popular in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.

Which city is famous for holi?

Mathura is famous for holi.

Why do we play holi with colors?

There are several reasons for why people play with colors during holi. For one, it is a way to symbolically celebrate the coming of spring. It is also a way to remember and honor the Hindu god Krishna, who is said to have enjoyed playing with colors. Finally, it is simply a fun activity that people of all ages can enjoy.