Holi is one of the most ancient festivals in India and was originally named 'Holika�. Celebrated throughout the country with immense zeal and fervor, Holi is also one of the most popular Indian festivals abroad. The celebrations of Holi differ from region to region, however the zeal and gusto with which the festival is welcomed throughout the country remains the same. It is often said that the modern form of Holi was introduced in Mathura and Vridvana by Lord Krishna himself and that is why Holi holds a special significance in the eastern part of the country. Read on this article to explore the origin as well as the history of Holi in the country.
History of Holi
The exact origin of the festival can not be found, though several historians claim that the Holi celebration in the country was brought along with the Aryans. It is also quoted as a reason that Holi is still celebrated with great zeal in the more Aryan dominant Northern and Eastern India. There is also a detailed description of this festival in early religious works such as Jaimini's Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras. Several other religious and historical texts also discuss in detail about the festival.
It is said that Holi is celebrated in India, since an immemorial time, even in the period before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is believed to have changed over the eras and phases. Long ago, Holi was a special rite performed by married women for the happiness, well-being and prosperity of their families and the full moon (Raka) was worshiped for bringing auspiciousness and pleasure. With time the way of celebration has changes. Also, the prominent legends related to the festival have changed with time.
Holi falls in the lunar month of Phalguna according to the Hindu calendar. This date corresponds in the months of February or March as per the Gregorian calendar. It is marked on the last full moon day (Phalgun Purnima). The festival of Holi is a celebration of unity and brotherhood wherein festivities are observed with high spirits irrespective of caste, creed, color, race, status or sex. The main day of the festival is known as Holi, also referred to as Dhuli Vandana in Sanskrit, or Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi. This is observed by throwing and smearing colored powder on one another. The day before Holi is known as Holika Dahan, or Chhoti Holi, which means burning of Holika'. This takes places on the night before Holi.