Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

Holi: The festival of Colours!

Holi: The festival of Colours!

A couple of blogs ago, I shared a bit about India, my home country. If you haven’t read it, read here by following the link

I said I would share more of my culture with you, and since one of the biggest festivals of India, that is Holi, is approaching soon, I thought I would share whats it all about……

Holi, also known as the festival of colours, is a fun-filled festival celebrated in March, usually at the latter half of the month (This year is on the 29th). The festivals bring in the arrival of Spring and the end of winter, putting everyone in good spirits for the start of the season. The festival signifies the message of victory of good over evil with many stories related to the occasion; the most popular and known to many is the killing of Holika. The story revolves around the kingdom of king Hiranyakashipu, who wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship and treat him as their god. But his own son Prahalad, refused to worship his father as he was a great devotee and worshipper of Lord Vishnu and wouldn’t kneel in front of his father. The king wasn’t happy with his behaviour and tried many attempts to kill his son, but his son’s true devotion to his god saved him every time. At last, he decided to take the help of his sister Holika, who had the blessing of being immune to fire and burning. She took Prahalad and decided to sit with him in burning fire, but to everyone’s surprise, she burnt to death due to her evil intentions. In contrast, the boy who kept chanting his god’s name came out of it unharmed, hence signifying the victory of good over evil. To commemorate this story, huge bonfires are brunt a night before the day of Holi as a symbolic presentation in hopes of burning all evil spirits and negative thoughts with that fire before the festival.

On the day of Holi, everyone celebrates the festival by playing with colours (Gulal in Hindi) and water. Everyone puts colours on each other, drenches each other with water, throws water balloons at each other and just enjoys having fun leaving all their sorrows and worries behind. The brights colours covering the streets of India showcase all the bright smiles and happiness of people no matter what religion they follow; everyone becomes one and comes together as the festival is celebrated. The festival also says to forget grudges of the past and for enemies to become friends on the day of Holi. It has always been one of my favourite festivals, and I always was awake at the crack of dawn ready to go and play with my friends, and get covered in colours from head to toe at the end of the day. If your skin is not stained with colours for a couple of days after, you didn’t celebrate it right and didn’t play enough. With the whole day being all hyper and high in serotonin, the evenings of the festivals are equally as relaxed with families sitting and hanging out with relatives and friends visiting each other. It comes once a year but brings in a load of enjoyment and excitement that can forget about in their day-to-day life. Indian festivals are a prominent emblem of our multicultural heritage and symbol of stories and legends we all are taught as kids. Enjoying the festivals is one of the major things I miss while being here in the UK as they use to bring in a rush of happiness as they approached. I am excited to celebrate them each year as I get to have more quality time with my family while enjoying the rituals at the same time. Childhood memories that will never be forgotten 🙂 ……

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