Happy Holi 2021: Legends, significance, and greetings for the festival of colours!

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Updated: March 29, 2021 11:04 AM

It is celebrated with much joy and fervour across the country, and on this day, people apply colours to each other and have sweets, especially Gujia.

This year, Holi falls on Monday, March 29. (File image: PTI)

Holi 2021: Holi is a major festival for the Hindus, especially those who are devout Vaishnavites. The festival, which is generally celebrated in late-February or March, marks the culmination of winter and the onset of spring. There are several legends and stories linked to the festival, including that of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha, as well as the legend of Hiranyakashipu and Prahlad, and so Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil, the power of devotion as well as love. This year, Holi falls on Monday, March 29. It is celebrated with much joy and fervour across the country, and on this day, people apply colours to each other and have sweets, especially Gujia. It is a very vibrant festival.

Also read | Holika Dahan 2021: Significance, legend and how to celebrate

Happy Holi 2021: The many legends

Holi is significant to the believers of Vaishnavism because two of the most common legends associated with Holi are in relation to two different incarnations of Lord Vishnu, who as per Hindu beliefs takes an avatar and comes to Earth whenever Adharma begins to prevail and restores the Dharma.

The first legend refers to evil King Hiranyakashipu, who had sworn enmity to Lord Vishnu when the latter took the avatar of Varaha and killed the king’s evil elder brother Hiranyaksha. To become invincible, Hiranyakashipu worshipped Lord Brahma, who was pleased by his worship and granted him a boon that the king would not be killed by any Deva, human, animal or any creature who takes birth on this Earth, by any projectile or hand-held weapon, and that he would not be killed during the day or at night, neither indoors nor outside and he would not be killed either on land, underwater or in the air.

Once the boon was granted, he thought himself to be the God, and so commanded his subjects to only worship him, something that his own son, devout Vaishnavite Prahlad defied. Hiranyakashipu began oppressing and ill-treating all those who did not worship him, including his own son. He then ordered his sister, Holika, to sit in a burning pyre with Prahlad so that Prahlad would die, since Holika had the boon that she would not be harmed by fire. However, while in the fire, Prahlad kept praying to Lord Vishnu and ultimately, Prahlad was saved from the fire, while Holika died.

Soon after, Hiranyakashipu asked Prahlad that if Lord Vishnu was onmipresent and all-encompassing, then why could the king not see him. He also mocked Prahlad and asked if Vishnu was present in a pillar, while pointing to a pillar in the palace. When Prahlad responded that Lord Vishnu was everywhere, be it a pillar or a twig, the evil king wielded his mace and smashed the pillar. From the pillar emerged Narsimha, the fourth incarnation or avatar of Lord Vishnu. It was dusk when the incarnation emerged, and hence it was neither day nor the night. The incarnation was a Deva in half-human half-lion form who had not taken birth and had instead emerged from the pillar, thus not violating the boon given to the evil king by Lord Brahma.

Narsimha then took the evil king to the threshold of the palace, and therefore Hiranyakashipu was neither inside nor outside, placed the evil king on his lap, and not on land, in air or underwater, and disemboweled and killed him using his claws, hence fulfilling all the conditions of Brahma’s boon and yet killing the demon king. This signified the triumph of good over evil.

The second most common legend related to Holi is that of Lord Vishnu’s popular incarnation Lord Krishna, who is also considered the Supreme God in his own right by many. As per legends, Krishna, who was dark-skinned due to being poisoned by demoness Putana sent by his uncle Kansa, was often teased for being dark skinned. In his childhood, he was once lamenting whether Radha would like him despite him being dark skinned, when his mother (or foster mother) Yashoda told him to go to Radha with colours and ask her to colour his face in whatever colour she liked. With that began the love of Radha and Krishna and it began to be celebrated as Holi. Another legend related to Lord Krishna is that he used to celebrate the festival of colours with much fervour, playing Holi with the ‘gopis’ of Vrindavan, with all of them also performing Raas-Leela.

This is also why Holi in the Braj region is celebrated vibrantly and people from far away places come to take part in it.

Holi 2021: Greetings, wishes and messages

Here are some messages that you can send to your loved ones to wish them a Happy Holi.

  • May your life always be filled with colours of joy and happiness. Happy Holi!
  • May this festival of colours bring more cheerful and vibrant colours in your life. Wishing you a very Happy Holi!
  • This Holi, may you get good luck, fortune, success, and lots of love. Happy Holi to you and your loved ones. May you always keep smiling and enjoying the colours.
  • Auspicious pink, sunkissed orange, soothing silver, pretty purple, blissful yellow and forever green. I wish you all the happiness that your heart could gain. A very Happy Holi to you and your family.
  • Throw out all the negativity and bring in all positivity to life. Celebrate Holi with vibrant colours. Happy Holi!

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