Features Issue 5 Magazine

Holi Smokes!

Spring marks the season of new beginnings. The flowers are blooming, the cold weather has finally gone away, and there are fun holidays and festivals, such as Holi!

Holi is the Indian Festival of Spring, and it is usually celebrated in February or March. Holi is mainly celebrated in India, but now, Holi is celebrated everywhere and is known to be a joyous holiday. Every year, UC Berkeley celebrates Holi and it is open to everyone. You usually throw water colors or colors that are based in a flower texture at each other, which eliminates the boundaries between people, and bringings them together. The colors that are being thrown represent different things. Red signifies love and fertility, yellow tumeric, also known as haldi, green new beginnings, and blue Krishna, one of the Hindi deities. Along with throwing water colors at each other through spray guns, there is loud and festive music playing in the background. 

This year, Holi begins on March 20 and ends on March 21. On March 23, at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, there will be a Holi celebration with lots of music, food, and colors. If you do decide to participate in the Holi festivities, be sure to bring old clothes because the water color will stain.

The Holi Festival represents good defeating evil, a concept that emerged when King Hiranyakashipu, king of the Daityas (who are a clan of Asuras) was defeated by Lord Vishnu. In this myth, King Hiranyakashipu represents evil who is being defeated by Lord Vishnu. On a more religious level, Holi symbolizes good conquering evil. King Hiranyakashipu, the evil being of the story, became immortal. He used this gift to his advantage and caused havoc. In the story, King Hiranyakashipu’s son, Prahlad, decided to still continue worshipping Lord Vishnu. This infuriated Hiranyakashipu who made many attempts in trying to kill his son. During one of these attempts, Hiranyakashipu sought for his sister, Holika, for help. She had a special garment that protected her from fire. Holika sat on a bonfire and tricked Prahlad to sit on her lap. Her garment flew off of her and landed on Prahlad instead, which caused Holika to be burnt to death by the fire. Hiranyakashipu continued to plot to kill Prahlad for not worshipping him. One day, Lord Vishnu disguised himself as half-lion and half-man. During dusk, Vishnu killed him at a doorstep while he was on Hiranyakashipu’s lap (neither land, air, or water), with his lion claws (which are not handheld weapons). After he died, everyone was free from the wrong doing and corrupt power of Hiranyakashipu.