Holi, the Spring Festival of Colors
Honoring Mother Earth and Celebrating Earth Day
Mar 27 2016
Join us on we celebrate Holi and Earth Day. This colorful event is presented by the Hindu Temple Society of North America, Flushing, NY. It’s no surprise that the designated Earth Day coincidentally falls close to Holi. Holi marks the onset of Spring when the re-generation of Mother Earth also takes place. As the Earth fills the atmosphere with the vibrant colors of the flowers and greenery, so does Holi. Therefore, it is only apt that Earth Day be celebrated along with Holi celebrations.
May the joyous spirit of the Festival of Colors pervade our hearts and homes. Come and enjoy colorful multicultural dances and music.
Free and Open to All
What is Holi?
Holi, one of the popular festivals of Northern India, is celebrated on the full moon day in March-April, signaling the end of winter and the onset of spring. This ancient festival, as with most others, celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Holi is the beginning of a new year for some, and a harvest festival for yet others.
How is Holi celebrated?
- Houses are cleaned as in spring cleaning. Spring cleaning clears our physical environment as well as our mind.
- Bonfires are lit on many street corners on the eve of Holi, where some dance to the rhythm of dhol (drums), while singing devotional and folk songs. After an inactive winter, these activities wake up the body, mind and spirit.
- Color is sprinkled on others as an act of friendship. The colors were originally plant derived and had ãyurvedic benefits.
Legend behind the bonfire:
The most popular legend centered around this bonfire is the demise of the evil Holika. The arrogant evil king Hiranyakashipu ordered everyone to worship him instead of the Lord. But his pious son Prahlāda refused to do so. After several failed attempts, the enraged king asked his evil sister Holika to put an end to Prahlāda. Holika was immune to fire. She put Prahlāda on her lap and engulfed herself with fire. The Lord saved him and burned her instead. On Holi, a flammable effigy of Holika is attached to a fire proof pole (Prahlāda) and dropped into the bonfire to watch Holika burn. This symbolically burns our evil tendencies and also represents the triumph of good over evil.
Sprinkling of color:
On the next day comes the tradition of applying vibrant color as an expression of love and affection. This is by far, the most fun part, making Holi the most colorful festival of India. This ancient tradition is said to be initiated by Lord Krishna, Radha and other cowherds who smeared color powder on each other as a symbol of their divine love for each other.
Today, eager participants vie to be the first to apply color (powder and/or liquid) on others until they are fully covered, drenched and become unrecognizable. Out of respect, youngsters color only the feet of elders. Fun filled pranks are played on each other.
Time to reach out!
Traditional sweets and drinks are exchanged with friends and foes alike—“even enemies are friends on Holi” is the theme of Holi. The usual social divides like gender, age and status are set aside and everyone mingles freely without malice; which helps ‘burn’ the impurities in our hearts, bringing harmony among all. This is a good time to forge new friendships and renew old ones.