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Holi marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated on Fagan Sud Chaudas. People celebrate this festival by spraying colorful water and powder on each other. This Festival of Colors celebrates the victory of good over evil. Devotees offer roasted grains to Agni Dev, the Goddess of Fire. The offering of newly harvested grains is known as Holi. While there are several scriptural references that explain the significance of Holi, the story of Prahlad is the most popular. In the Swaminarayan Sampraday, devotees also celebrate the birth of Brahmaswarup Bhagatji Maharaj.

Origins:

  • Dhundhaa, an evil demoness, always harassed children and teenagers. In order to keep her away, people lit fires in various locations. After doing so, the children and adults walked around the fire while chanting God’s name. The demoness never returned. (Bhavishyottara Purana)
  • Putna, an evil demoness, made several unsuccessful attempts to kill Shri Krishna when he was a child. After he defeated her, the locals burned her body and joyously celebrated his victory.
  • Hiranyakashipu, the father of the child devotee Prahlad, was an evil king and dissenter of Vishnu Bhagwan. Hiranyakashipu would not allow Prahlad to worship Vishnu Bhagwan. Infuriated by his son's devotion, Hiranyakashipu made several attempts to kill his own son. In one attempt, Prahlad told his sister, Holika, to wear a mystical sari which would not burn and to sit in the fire with him in her lap. Vishnu Bhagwan saved Prahlad from being burnt in the fire due to his devout faith. Holika wore the wrong garment due to Vishnu’s wish and was burnt. Symbolically, maya, in the form of Holika, was destroyed by Prahlad's staunch devotion.
  • This day is also Bhagwan Manu or the Eternal Father’s birthday. Mankind is Lord Manu's offspring. He composed the Manu Smruti, a scripture regarded as a manual for man's life on Earth.
  • NarNarayan Dev, the fourth incarnation of Vishnu Bhagwan, was born on Holi.

Rituals:

  • People burn statues of Holika, celebrating the victory of good over evil.
  • People throw colored water and powder on each other, celebrating the arrival of spring. The scriptures state the ritual should be carried out with stripurush maryada.

 

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