Holi is not just about playing with colours and indulging in sweets but also has a profound history behind it. The festival celebrated by Hindus every year is observed on the day of Purnima, the full moon, in the month of Falgun over two consecutive days — the first day known as Chhoti Holi or Holika Dahan and the second as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dulandi or Dhulivandan. This year, Holi falls on March 1 and 2.
Holi is a symbol of the triumph of good over evil. It marks the onset of spring and is also celebrated to give thanks for a good harvest. The festivities generally include smearing colour on each others’ faces, splashing people with water by throwing water balloons at them and heartily indulging in sweet delicacies that are made this day.
History of Holi/Dhulandi
The festival has got a deep relationship with Lord Krishna as history of Dhulandi begins with the time when Kansa, a demon king, ordered an ogress named Putana to kill Krishna by breastfeeding him with her poisonous milk. Putana did manage to take Krishna away, but the divine toddler suckled her breast only to suck her life force, thus killing her and relieving her from a curse that had made resulted in her being born an ogress.
It’s said that after having that poisonous milk, Krishna’s colour turned blue. Years later, when Krishna was once upset with his body colour and jealous of the fair Radha, his mother – to appease her son – told him that he could apply whatever colour he likes on Radha’s face. Krishna took gulal into his hands and applied it all over the face of Radha. The small play took gained popularity across the town, and a great wave of joy and happiness took over all Vrindavan. Since then, this festival has also been celebrated as Dhulandi.
Holi’s Importance and Significance
This day is hailed as the welcoming celebration for a full-blown spring, after Basant Panchami. It symbolises that though we may have had to face the difficult challenges like stark, cold winters, spring leashes new life and is a time when love is shared and new beginnings can be made. The festival represents unity, strength and sharing of love and happiness, much like we share the colours.
Science and Holi
Our senses affect our mind, which is the centre of all our emotions and moods. Scientifically, colours can change our mood — both on gross and subtle levels of existence. Colour therapy is a testament to that, since there is recorded evidence of colour therapy working miracles to heal various mental and emotional disorders. Thus, each colour holds a special vibration that affects our mood and behaviour. Generally, on Dhulandi, the colours used in the past time were made of natural substances like gulal made of scented flowers, extracts, turmeric powder, etc., but nowadays it has been replaced by synthetic colours. In the process, the festive smearing of colours has lost its touch of spiritual and Ayurvedic significance too, as natural colours are good for our skin and the aroma of the scented colours definitely cheer up people and, thus, generate even more love and happiness in the air as a festival of love. Mostly, four colours were used in Rangwali Holi in the past — which were red, blue, yellow and green, each related to their symbolic meaning of love, peace, joy and happiness, respectively.
Puja Samagri (items needed)
* Flowers (these create a pleasant atmosphere)
* Radha Krishna picture (representative of the holy couple)
* Abeer and herbal gulal of five colours (representative of sharing the love when applied, and have positive effects on the skin and mind)
* Ghee made from cow milk, cottin wicks and earthy/metal lamp (for the worship and prayers)
* Fruits and homemade milk sweets (as prasad and offerings)
* Gangajal, bBell, incense and itra (for the worship and purification)
* Tulsi leaves and sandalwood paste (both are said to be dear to Lord Vishnu, and are used as offerings and for putting the tilak)
Household Puja Vidhi
* On this day, devotees should assemble in the household altar, or temple, after having a bath and wearing clean clothes.
* While facing east, one should place the picture of Radha Krishna in the temple or on an altar decorated with flowers.
* One should put all the puja items there and apply some of the abeer-gulal on the face and the lotus feet of Radha Krishna.
* One should offer the incense to the lord and put tulsi leaves in the sweets, which should be first offered to the lord followed by offering the ghee lamp, ganjajal, gulal, etc.
* One must offer the items by circling them around the picture of the divine couple seven times.
* The ganjajal should be sprinkled on everyone and gulal should be applied on everyone’s face as prasad as a means to get divine blessings.
Shastric Puja Vidhi
The Shastric Puja Vidhi for Dulandi includes Sri Kalash Sthapana, Avahan, Swasthivachan, Sodashopchar Puja, Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Puja, Sri Vrindavan Dham Puja and Sri Vrajmandal Puja, Purnahuti, Homa and Visarjan.
Holika Dahan Timing
This year, Holika Dahan 2018 will be celebrated on March 1. Timings for the Holika Dahan will be from 6 pm to 8.30 pm in the evening, after the Bhadra period is over.
This year, Dhulandi Rangwali Holi falls on the March 2, and is celebrated in the morning from 9 am till the afternoon or evening, depending on the region and local traditions.