India’s Holi Festival: Fire, Colors & People

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India

 

This post was a collaboration of two Edge of Humanity Magazine contributors:

Rukmini Krishnan: Author of the written content and photographer capturing the pyre.  Rukmini Krishnan is a writer and blogger.

Roshan Raj: The photographer capturing the people enjoying the Holi festival in India.

Holika Dahan – An Indian Ritual

March 6, 2015 was Holi in India. Holi is a festival of colours which celebrates the beginning of spring in the country. The night prior to Holi pyres are lit in Northern India, parts of Southern India and in countries like Nepal. In fact, in some parts of India, this day is referred to as Holika.

The Procedure

Many days prior to Holika people collect wood as well as combustible materials so that the pyre can be lit without difficulty. The ritual of burning is symbolic of winning good over evil. People usually celebrate by paying respects to the pile of wood tied up in a triangular form and also worship it.

Photographer: Rukmini Krishnan. Pile of wood tied up in a triangular form to be lit during Holika. Click on the image to read more about daily life in India.

Photographer: Rukmini Krishnan. Pile of wood tied up in a triangular form to be lit during Holika. Click on the image to read more about daily life in India.

Photographer: Rukmini Krishnan. Pyre on fire during Holika. Click on the image to read more about daily life in India.

Photographer: Rukmini Krishnan. Pyre on fire during Holika. Click on the image to read more about daily life in India.

The Legend

The reason the pyre is burnt has a legend. Once there was a demon king by the name of Hiranyakashipu. He ruled the world but his son Prahlad worshipped the Indian God of Protection Lord Vishnu.

This angered Hiranyakashipu and he formed a plot with his sister Holika who had the gift of staying in fire from Lord Vishnu. She had a shawl gifted by Vishnu to protect her from fire. Fooling Prahlad into the fire with the assurance that his aunt would protect him, Hiranyakashipu asks Prahlad to sit in the fire with her. The treachery did not pay off as Lord Vishnu blew air such that Holika’s shawl was blown off and Prahlad was protected because Lord Vishnu was pleased with his devotion.

Holi is thus celebrated in India as a victory of good over evil and the pyre is burnt to signify this event where Holika the evil got burnt and Prahlad the good remained in the world. The pyre is thus an enaction of the scene. In parts of India, like Gujarat and Orissa gram and stalks are offered as a mark of humility to the harvest given by The Almighty.

Thus, Holi is a festival with a significance and the pyre is a symbol of good over evil. Today, in Indian cities they light a fire within their place of stay and pray for a better world.

 

The People

 

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

Photographer: Roshan Raj, Holi Festival – India. Click on the image to see more photographs.

 

This post was a collaboration of two Edge of Humanity Magazine contributors:

Rukmini Krishnan: Author of the written content and photographer capturing the pyre.  Rukmini Krishnan is a writer and blogger.

Roshan Raj: The photographer capturing the people enjoying the Holi festival in India.

 

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