Known as the festival of colors, Holi is a vibrant festival celebrated each year. Marking the end of winter, Holi is a way for the Indian culture to welcome the spring season. While Indian restaurants in Nashua gear up to celebrate, we also feel it’s an important time to reflect on the history of the day. Like many holidays, there are legends surrounding Holi, and our family at India Palace is here to provide you with an inside look.
As any good legend goes, there is always a powerful individual. In this case, Hiranyakashipu, a powerful king, is the subject. While many kings are treasured, Hiranyakashipu was despised and hated for his cruelty towards humanity. Placing himself above all, Hiranyakashipu demanded the worship of all – including his son.
Furious with his son’s rebellion, refusing to worship his father, Hiranyankashipu made many unsuccessful attempts on his son’s life. It was not until he called for the assistance of his equally evil sister, Holika, that paths turned. Luring Prahlada into her world, one which was immune to fire, Holika’s evil intentions reversed. Instead of burning Prahlada, Holika was reduced to ashes, and Prahlada gained her immunities.
This day became the first of many to celebrate good over evil.
Today, Holika Dahan is the first day of the festival. The celebration begins after sunset as people gather and light a pyre. Singing and dancing, this tradition is a reminder to all of the triumph.
Radha and Krishna
However, in other regions, Holi is celebrated in memory of the love between Radha and Krishna. As a young boy, legend has it that Krishna’s skin turned blue after drinking poisoned milk. Because of his dark color, he later worried that girls in the village, including Radha, would never pay attention to him. However, his mother encouraged Krishna to venture into the village. Doing so, Krishna applied color to Radha, uniting them as one. It was here that the tradition of color become incorporated into Holi.
On the second day of the festival, people apply color to one another in celebration and joy. Singing, dancing, and music are common as all ages gather in the street to play with dry colors called abir or gulal. With water guns, balloons, and other means, there is color from head to toe.
Of course, there is much more to Holi, but now you understand the background of the festival of color. While you won’t find colors being spread across Indian restaurants in Nashua, you can be certain to find gujiya. A sweet treat made in every household during Holi, gujiya and other delicacies at India Palace in Nashua should not be missed!
Visit India Palace today to taste a bit of tradition! Located at 439 Amherst Street in Nashua, NH.
Source: culture trip: Meleah Moore https://theculturetrip.com/asia/india/articles/what-is-holi-and-why-is-it-celebrated/