History of Holi
Holi has been celebrated for thousands of years, it’s estimated origin falls several centuries before the time of Jesus Christ. Originally known as Holika, the festival began as a rite for married woman. This special rite worship Raka, the full moon, and was meant to pray for the happiness and well-being of the woman’s family. Holi has also been known as the celebration of the birth of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabha, who was a generous and merciful Supreme Lord of Mayapur in 1486. Although the Holi festivals have changed over the years, it’s literal meaning remains the same: “burning.” There are various myths associated with Holi, but the most common involves the legend of the demon king Hiranyakashyap. He was an egocentric leader who wanted all his kingdom to worship him as their only god. The ironic thing was that it was his own son who betrayed his wishes, for he was dedicated to worshiping Lord Narayana, known as the supreme force and/or essence of all. In rage, Hirantakashyap commanded his sister Holika to force his son Prahlad into a fire with her. Holika had the power to enter a fire without being burned. She did as she was told, and brought Prahlad into the fire. Holika was not aware that her power was neutralized if she was with another human being, consequently she was incinerated. Prahlad was then saved by the grace of Lord Narayana for his devotion. The fire at Holi celebrates the triumph over evil and victory that comes with devotion. The tradition of the colors comes from a legend involving Lord Krishna, who played with colors by coloring his beloved Radha and other gopis.