April 6, 2014
Junior Indian Dance Contest (children under 17)
18 General Belov str., "Avangard" Center for Culture and Arts, Moscow
Holi is the most colorful festival in India, and it
signifies the beginning of spring. India is a multi-national country, where a multitude of various cultures, languages, gods, religions, traditions
and customs exist in harmony. There is abundance of spring festivals in India, but Holi is unique and unparalleled in its own way. It is dedicated to
Kamadeva, the god of love. In accordance with the traditional Hindu iconography, his bow is made of sugarcane, arrows are made of stems of flowers,
and a bow string is composed of a swarm of buzzing bees.
The nicest tradition of the Holi celebration consists in throwing colored powders or colored water at each other. Red color is
the prevalent, yellow and green ones are less frequent. Phials filled with paints keep flying even into the windows of passing cars during the Holi
celebration. The packets full of colored powders hit almost all the stores and shops a few days before the festival. Holi pertains to those Hindu holidays
during which people avoid putting on their best clothes, on the contrary, their dress is quite modest and plain, because any clothes, even the most festive
costume may be irreparably spoilt by stains of paints.
Holi is an Indian folk festival observed in honor of the
beginning of spring. Its celebration lasts 2 days (usually from late March to early April) at the time of the full moon. People light a huge bonfire
and burn an effigy of Holika on the eve of the second festival day at night. In the morning people go outdoors, and it’s time to start festivities:
everybody pours red, green, yellow, blue and black colored water over each other and throws colored powders. In the past necessary attributes and
materials, such as pigments, bamboo sprinklers and powders were hand-made, nowadays one can buy them in the stores.
Exultant people treat themselves to a special drink containing marihuana to keep cheering, and they feast at home or staying out.
It is not the done thing to take offence, if someone has spoilt your costume this day, that’s why stiff neat persons avoid going outdoors (by the way,
the streets are also brightly adorned with flowers and gaily cloth).
The festival of colors is a very ancient holiday, and most likely it’s several centuries senior to Christ. In ancient times it was called Holika. It was
a name of the legendary sister of the king of demons who was granted with invulnerability by Brahma. It meant that he wouldn’t be killed “either in the
day or at night; either in his home or outside the home; either on land or in the sky; either by a human being or an animal”. As a result, he got conceited
about it, and then he got it into his head that he was a master of the universe. But Prahlad, the son of the king of demons, revered Vishnu, and that was
the reason for his father to be angry with him, and he even attempted on his son’s life without success. Finally, he ordered his sister Holika to make
Prahlad drop on his knees and to sit on the bonfire with him. Holika wasn’t supposed to be harmed by the fire, because she was covered with a magical
shawl which prevented its owner from flame. But it turned out quite different: it was Prahlad who was protected by the shawl (he was prudently praying
to Vishnu), and the evil Holika was burnt to death.
That was the event which gave rise to celebrate the Festival of Colors, though many researchers believe Holi to be a holiday
in honor of Krishna and his romps with girls. Spring is just a time to love!