Monday, March 1, 2010

Holi - the festival of colors

Holi is the festival of colors. It's a very exciting day filled with colors of course!! Suzy and I were excited to be able to experience this festival. All the people on our routes had invited us to their homes for Holi and one guy(Rashib, he runs a shoe/umbrella store) invited us to his house for lunch today. Yesterday he took us to the bonfire sight to see puja(w0rship) and explain the history of Holi.

Holi comes from a legend involving King Hiranyakashipu. Because Hiranyakashipu wanted to avenge the death of his brother who was killed by Vishnu he performed severe penance and pr@yer for many years to gain enough power. Finally he was granted a boon and with this boon he thought he had become invincible. This made him very proud and he forced all those in his kingdom to w0rship him instead of Vishnu.

However, he had a very young son, Prahalad, who refused to w0rship him and continued to w0rship only Vishnu. Angry,  Hiranyakashipu asked his sister, Holika, to help him kill the boy. They tried many times to kill him but each time little Prahalad escaped death.

Holika was believed to be immune to fire and would never be burnt. So, it was decided that Holika would hold little Prahalad on her lap ontop of a pyre until the boy died. However, when the plan was carried out it was not Prahalad who died, but Holika. Prahalad came from the fire unscathed and thus it is believed that good won over evil.

Each year H!ndus celebrate this festival with colors remembering the victory and believe that what ever they pr@y for will come true. The colors themselves come from a time when Krishna(believed to be a reincarnation of Vishnu) used to play pranks on the girls in the villages. He would throw water and color on them and soon many of the other boys joined in this fun and so the tradition was carried on.

That is the history of Holi. Now for some pictures of Holi 2010!!

During puja the ladies tie a string around the wood to make sure the fire doesn't burn anything good. 

This is Suzy and I with one of the ladies on my route. You'll see more color as our day went on. 

 Suzy and her didis(elder sisters)


This is Aprit, one of the boys on my language route.


This is Arti, a little girl on my route.

Some boys on the street that colored our faces. This boys was coming at me with two handfuls of color right as I was taking the picture!!

Here is Suzy with some of the ladies from her route.

These two girls tried to get us to drink some bong(an alcoholic drink they make for Holi) but we declined the offer.

This man is standing right inside the temple giving out bong and pakoris(fried snack). 

Even the dogs join in on the fun! :D

Can you find Suzy? She's really in this picture, I promise!! 
At first I wondered why they were using black color, but then I realized it didn't start black. It's just all the colors mixed together.

This is Kishan, one of the shoemakers that works across the street from my house.

 This is another tradition of Holi. A pot is tied above the street filled with butter, milk and money. Men then stand on top of each other trying to break the pot with a rock(or in the case this year, a stick)

This little boy was really camera shy, but I did get a couple good ones of him. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed these pictures. I've got a few more on facebook, so you'll have to check those out too!! Have a good day, and HAPPY HOLI!!!

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