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My favorite festival: Holi

Holi is celebrated on the full moon day in the


month of Phalgun (February-March). It is the victory of
good over evil. It’s the liveliest, messiest and the most
colorful festival of the year. This festival is associated
with immortal love of Krishna and Radha. Hence in
Mathura and Vrindavan, Holi is celebrated with songs,
music, plays, dances and colored water is thrown on each
other.
According to the legend, Hiranyakashyapu was a
demon king and he performed a severe penance to
become the king of all three worlds. Brahma appeared
and the demon king asked for a boon. “O Brahma, grant
that neither man, devil, nor God shall cause my death by
day or night with steel or stone or wood and in a place
which is neither inside nor outside.” Brahma granted
him the boon and he declared himself to be the king of all
three worlds. He ordered all the people to worship him.
However he had a son named Prahlad who was a devotee
of Lord Vishnu. The evil demon wanted to kill his son.
He threw Prahlad down a mountain but Prahlad wasn’t
injured. Then he made Prahlad eat poisonous food and
Prahlad was forced to be bitten by snakes but nothing
affected him. Prahlad continued praying to Lord Vishnu
and chanted his name fearlessly. The king called his
sister Holika, who had a boon not to be burned by fire.
He prepared a pyre, lit it and asked Holika to sit in it,
clutching Prahlad. Holika was burnt to ashes and Prahlad
continued to chant the name of Lord Vishnu. On Holi
eve, this legend is relived when a bonfire is lit and a
model of wicked witch Holika is burnt. On the next day,
the fun begins. People wear their oldest clothes and they
throw colored powders all over each other using
Pichkaris. People visit homes, distribute sweets and
apply gulal on each other. They greet and hug each
other. In the evening, they have a bath, change their
clothes and then they visit their friends to wish them a
Happy Holi.
In Dallas, we celebrate Holi in Balgokulum. We
put gulal on each other and hug each other. Everyone
brings sweets like barfi, ladoos, gujhiya, gulab-jamun,
etc. Then, I eat all the mithais I like. A karyakarta tells
all the children the story about Prahlad and why we
celebrate Holi. It’s really fun to smear gulal on my
friends’ faces, hair and neck.
We also go to Hindu temple. Hundreds of people
come there and we throw different colored powders on
each other. There was a cultural function that included
plays, songs, and dances on Holi theme.
Holi is celebration of the harvest season and the
spring festival of India.
To me, Holi is a celebration of life – the life of
love, joy and good spirits. It is the festival of color, a
time of merry making and enjoyment. It restores cheer
and peace of mind. Holi means ‘sacrifice’. Therefore we
should burn all the impurities of our minds.