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March 23, 2016

5 Interesting Holi Legends from Different Parts of India

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Holi is not just about colors and balloons but has much deeper meaning. India is known for its diversity and it is interesting to note that in each state it is celebrated differently. While in Northern part of the country, Holi is all about colors and bhaang, in the Western
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Holi is not just about colors and balloons but has much deeper meaning. India is known for its diversity and it is interesting to note that in each state it is celebrated differently. While in Northern part of the country, Holi is all about colors and bhaang, in the Western part of the country (Maharashtra) it is celebrated by hanging maakhan handis and remembering maakhan chor Lord Krishna. These states have different legends but the crux of Holi is same – the defeat of evil and celebration of good.

#5 Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad

This is the most popular legend that you may know of. Hiranyakashyapu was the most atrocious demon. He sought immortality for which he did penance to seek the blessings of Brahma. But his son, Prahlad was an arduous devotee of Vishnu and the king wanted to kill his son. Every time the king tried to kill Prahlad, Lord Vishnu saved Prahlad. When all his attempts failed he asked his sister to enter the fire with Prahlad on her lap. Holika had a boon that fire cannot harm her as long as she entered alone. Hence, the fire burnt her but Prahlad got saved because of his devotion.

#4 Radha and Krishna

When Krishna was very young, he would always complain to Yashoda, his mother, and ask her: Why Radha is fair and he very dark? To pacify Krishna, Yashoda asked her son to color Radha’s face. Taking his mother’s advice Krishna applied color on Radha to make her look like himself. Over the years this legend turned into the colorful festival of Holi.

#3 Lord Kamadeva

On hearing the immolation of Sati, Lord Shiva relinquished all the worldly responsibilities and went into deep meditation. This made all the gods worried and scared, and they approached Lord Kaamadeva to help. Lord Kamaadeva interfered in Lord Shiva’s meditation by shooting the love arrow. His intervention made Lord Shiva open his third eye and turn Kamaadeva into ashes. However, the arrow had much required effect. It is believed, Lord Kaamadeva was burnt to ashes on Holi and in Southern states of India, Lord Kaamadeva is worshiped on the day of Holi.

#2 Putana Rakshasi

When uncle Kansa failed to kill Krishna, he sought the help of his sister, Pootna. Pootna visited Krishna in the disguise of a simple woman. She tried to breastfeed Krishna but Krishna who knew her purpose sucked the blood and killed her. People in Gokul burnt her and even today people continue to burn fire the previous day to Holi.

#1 Dundhi Rakshasi

The atrocities of Ogress Dhundhi troubled the kingdom of Raghu. The king asked his priest for solution. The priest told the king about the boon Dhundhi had received from Lord Shiva – she could not be killed by gods or men, or by arms, or by heat, cold or rain. It made Dhundhi invincible but Lord Shiva also cursed her. Her curse made her susceptible to jokes and humor. He advised that in the month of Phalgun it is neither cold nor hot. Boys of the village should collect heap of wood and set it on fire and go around fire thrice while laughing, joking, singing, and clapping. The noise would kill the Ogress. And that is how the ogress was killed.

Holi is about rejoicing of good winning over evil. Have fun but only use natural colors. Pukke colors use dyes that may cause skin and eye diseases.

Featured Image Source: Flickr

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