History of Holi
Holi is an ancient festival in India also known as “Holika”. Holi is considered to be one of the oldest festivals in the world, it is also been said that Holi existed centuries before Christ. There are many ancient stories and references about why Holi is celebrated for centuries. Earlier it was the special site performed by the women for the well being of her family and the full moon was worshiped.
Holi usually takes place in March but there is no fixed date for the festival. Holi is celebrated on different dates every year. It is celebrated at the end of the winters, on the day after the full moon in March each year. There are two ways of calculating the date, 'purnimanta'(after the full moon) and 'amanta’(before the full moon). Today,’amanta’ is more common than ‘purnimanta’.
Holi has been referred to in various ancient texts such as the Vedas, Puranas, Jaimini Mmansa, and Ratnavali ( by king Harsha in 7th Century). It has also been said that Holi is not only celebrated by Hindus but also Muslims. There are also references of Holi in several Sculptures on walls of old temples and paintings which depicts the story behind the celebration of Holi.
The real question arrives, why all Hindus celebrate Holi as the festival of colors?
It has been said that Hiranyakashyap wanted everybody in his kingdom to worship him. But his son Prahlad worshiped Lord Narayana. Hiranyakashyap commanded his sister Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad on her lap to punish him. Holika had a boon whereby she could enter the fire without damage to herself. But she was not aware that boon will only work if she enters the fire alone. As a result, she paid the price for her sinister desire and Prahlad was saved by his devotion towards Lord Naarayana. Therefore, people from centuries celebrate Holi as the victory of good over evil.
It has been said that Lord Krishna used to play with colors by applying colors on his beloved Radha and other Gopis. Since then Holi is celebrated by applying colors to each other as a tradition for centuries.