Holi is the festival of colours. It is celebrated on Phalgun (Purnima) which comes in February or March.
The festival bridges the social gap and renews sweet relations. People hug and wish each other ‘Happy Holi’ with gulal and offer sweets.
There are numerous legends inked with Holi. The mythological origins vary in different parts of the country. There was a demon-king named Hiranyakashyap who won over the kingdom of earth and he commanded everyone to worship him, and not God; but his little son Prahlad refused to do so and he became a true devotee of Lord Vishnu.
The king tried many ways to kill Prahlad but every time Lord Vishnu saved him. Finally, the king asked his sister to enter a roaring fire with Prahlad in her lap as Holika had a boon to remain unharmed by fire. Prahlad happily followed his father’s orders and kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana.
However, Holika’s boon ended and she was burnt to ashes, while Prahlad came out safe. Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika and is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.
The Holi of Mathura and Vrindavan is celebrated for almost a week. It is celebrated in the memory of the immortal love of Lord Krishna and Radha. It is believed that when Krishna was young, he asked his mother the reason for his dark colour while Radha was so fair. Yashoda jokingly suggested that he should spread colour on Radha’s face and change her skin texture to any colour he wanted.