If India were to change its national game, they should just change it to Holi! The amount of planning and team work we Indians put into playing Holi can easily make us win tournaments! All the jumping, hoping, swerving, aiming, lifting and throwing gets even the most laid-back spectators involved. That’s a typical Indian holi-day in a nutshell.
Wait, but is that all? Not really. Holi is a lot more than just that. It’s about coming together and playing like a team. It’s about forgetting all your worries and differences and just getting together to celebrate the colours of life. The colour red infuses energy and enthusiasm, the colour blue reminds us of friendship and togetherness, whereas pink brings in all the joy of the festivities!
Holi is one tradition that has many customs attached to it. For starters, Holi flags off the summer and so there’s always need for a drink to cool you off. And that’s where Thandai comes to your rescue, after all the running around, it quenches your thirst and puts you in the mood to keep at it. The tradition of Thandai is particularly prevalent in North India. Thandai is a cooling drink usually made of purified water, sugar, seeds of watermelon and muskmelon, almonds, lotus stem seeds, cashew nut, cardamom, saunf, rose-flower, white pepper, saffron and sometimes, the very intoxicating bhang.
Next in line are the yummy sweets, after all, what’s Holi without the good old slurry, syrupy, soft gujiyas and jalebis made to perfection? The laughs and jokes followed by these yummy scents are just what make Holi perfect. And as we reminded of the gorgeous tastes of Holi, we go back into time to recollect how it all started.
As the legend has it, an evil king named Hiranyakashipu commanded his son, Prahlad, not to worship Lord Vishnu but to worship him instead. Prahlad, however continued worshipping Lord Vishnu against his father’s wishes. The king got furious and poisoned Prahlad. But the poison turned to nectar. The king ordered Prahlad to be trampled by elephants, yet he remained unharmed. He was then put in a room with hungry, poisonous snakes and he still survived. Finally, Hiranyakashipu’s sister, Holika, and Prahlad were put on a pyre over a fire. It was believed that Holika would be immune to the fire due to her magic shawl. Prahlad prayed to Vishnu (now called Lord Krishna) to keep him safe. He was unharmed by the fire, while Holika burnt to death.
The king declared that she would be remembered from that point, on Holi. Later Lord Vishnu took the form of half-man and half-lion (Narasimha) and killed King Hiranyakashipu at dusk on his porch steps by restraining him on his lap and mauling him with his claws.
Today, Holi has also sadly become an excuse for the anti-social elements of the society to misbehave. But we should not forget the real spirit of the festival and protect our children, elders and innocent animals while having fun. Let’s stay safe. So, here’s wishing everyone a happy and colourful Holi!