18th March brings us not one, but two things to celebrate! Not only can we connect with the wealth-giving energies of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth during Lakshmi Jayanti we also have the chance to celebrate the symbolic victory of light over darkness and good over evil in a festival of love and colors. That’s right – Holi festival is also coming up on March 18th, so let’s take a look at what that means for us.
Holi is a renowned festival celebrating the arrival of Spring. We may have seen images or experienced the fun and togetherness of Holi as people take to the streets and outdoor spaces, smearing each other with coloured paints and powders and drenching each other with water guns and balloons. On this day, people put aside their differences and come together with people known and unknown in the spirit of play. It is a day to end conflicts and forgive past errors – a day to move on, have fun, and connect with friends old and new.
To understand the deeper significance of Holi, we can look at the story from Indian Mythology about Prahlada, a boy who was completely devoted to Lord Vishnu, the Maintainer. Prahlada’s father, the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was angry at his son’s devotion to Lord Vishnu. He tried many things to change his son’s mind, but Prahlada’s devotion was so strong that he wouldn’t be swayed. Eventually Hiranyakashipu plotted to kill his son. Prahlada’s evil aunt, Holika, tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. Holika was wearing a cloak that made her immune to injury from fire, while Prahlada was not. As the fire roared, the cloak flew from Holika and encased Prahlada, who survived, while Holika was burnt.
Through Prahlada’s victory over Hiranyakashipu, this story demonstrates the victory of good over evil. Each year on the night before Holi, a bonfire is lit after sunset as a reminder of the fire that burnt the demon Holika and allowed goodness to prevail. The following day, with the birth of spring, the victory is celebrated in a festival of colors.
So enjoy the celebration, and have a very happy Holi!