2017 Holi Festival - How The Festival of Colors Got Its Name Monday March 13,2017
Colors are in the air as we celebrate the much-loved festival of Holi, celebrating the win of good over evil. Celebrated as a spring festival in northern India and Nepal, Holi is a two-day festival where one-day people burn a pyre to celebrate the story of Holika, and the next morning celebrate it with colors, called Dhulandi.
The story behind the festival's name is rather interesting. According to Hindu mythology, Asura King Hiranyakashipu had earned a boon that gave him five special powers: he could be killed by neither a human being nor an animal, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither at day nor at night, neither by Astra (projectile weapons) nor by any Shastra (handheld weapons), and neither on land nor in water or air. Hiranyakashipu grew arrogant, thought he was God and demanded that everyone worship only him.
However, Hiranyakashipu's own son, Prahlada, disagreed. He was and remained devoted to Vishnu. This infuriated Hiranyakashipu. He subjected Prahlada to cruel punishments, none of which affected the boy or his resolve to do what he thought was right. Finally, Holika, Prahlada's evil aunt, tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. Holika had a boon that made her immune to injury from fire. However, the condition was Holika enters the fire alone. The moment Holika sit in the pyre with Prahlad, she was burnt to ashes, while Prahlad who was chanting Vishnu's name came out safely.
Thus, Holi marks the triump of good over evil, deriving its name from Holika.