Slowly but surely, winter is coming to an end, even if mother nature keeps forgetting to turn up the thermostat, which means spring is right around the corner. What better way to celebrate the end of a cold, grueling winter than by welcoming spring with a festival of water and colors. On the last full moon of winter, which usually falls in March, Holi is celebrated by Hindus all over the world to embrace spring and as a reminder of the victory of good over evil. Holi is derived from Holika, the sister of evil King Hiranayakashipu, who tricked her nephew, Prahlada, to sit on a pyre. Because of Prahlada’s devotion to Lord Vishnu, he was saved as the flames rose and Holika was burned to ashes.
I have a confession to make: I’ve NEVER played Holi!
I’ve wanted to for years, but it’s not a holiday that as embraced when I was a child. Although Holi is most widely known as the festival of colors, it is also the festival of love. In the Braj region of India, it is observed as the union of Radha and Krishna, despite Krishna’s blue skin color. Holi is celebrated by spraying water and throwing colored powder. How often do we get to dress in all white with the intention of getting dirty? Holi is a day to break expectations and let go. Who cares if Tide won’t get it out (it most likely will)! Holi is a reminder of what is important: the people we love and the joy in our hearts.
Today, friends, family, neighbors and strangers come together to play Holi. It is a festival where adults can run carefree as if they are children themselves. A day where we shed our grudges and forgive those we love. We forget the triumphs of the past and open the door for a brighter spring and future. As we play Holi, we are reminded that no evil should overcome good and that no deed done wrong can overpower love. It is a day to remember the love in our hearts and share it freely.
I am looking forward to starting this tradition with my children because of the message behind the holiday. Holi is about sharing love, spreading joy and most importantly, the victory of good over evil.