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The Palas trees are blooming with tesu flowers. The crops are dancing merrily in the fields, bidding goodbye to the gloomy winter days, rejoicing at the advent of spring – the season of joy and hope, the season of Holi. The markets are teeming with different kinds of pichkari’s – the main reason this delightful festival is so popular among kids. While you are busy with the festive preparations, don’t forget to teach your child why we celebrate Holi.
Holi is a festival that has many more reasons to celebrate than we know. Various aspects of Holi have various significances. By letting our kids know these aspects, by teaching them their significance, and educating them on why we celebrate Holi, we give them reasons to cherish and heartily embrace the festival with much more enthusiasm than before.
Why Do We Celebrate Holi
The reasons for celebrating Holi are manifold, be it mythological, social, scientific, or environmental.
On the eve of Holi, while gathering around the bonfire or the ‘Holika’, tell your kid the history of Holi; the story of which goes as follows. Hiranyakashyap was a demon king in ancient India. To avenge the death of his younger brother who was killed by Lord Vishnu, he prayed for several years to Brahma. Pleased with his devotion and penance, Brahma granted him a boon that made him seemingly invincible. This led Hiranyakashyap to believe that he himself was like God and forced people to worship him. But his son, Prahlad, was a noble boy who did not pay heed to the cruel king’s demands and remained a loyal devotee to Lord Vishnu. This deeply angered Hiranyakashyap, who decided to kill his own son with the help of his sister. His sister, Holika, had means of remaining immune to fire. Thus, with Prahlad seated in her lap, she sat on a burning pyre of fire, with every intention of having Prahlad being burnt alive.
However, their plan went astray when Prahlad recited the name of Lord Vishnu all throughout and stayed safe; Holika, on the other hand, did not survive the fire. Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyakashyap soon after as well. Holika’s death signifies the defeat of all evil and the reason for the celebration of Holi.
But when did colours come into the picture?
This tradition dates back to the period of Lord Krishna, who is a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that he was a prankster and loved celebrating Holi with colours across Vrindavan and Gokul, thus making it a community event.
Watch how your child’s eyes light up while hearing these stories, and also, use this opportunity to teach him that good always triumphs over evil.
Next day, while your kid is getting ready to play with colours, explain to him that this is the day to turn his enemies into friends and to forget any grudges about them. Teach him to strengthen his relationships and create great bonds with people on this day, using colours. Take him along to visit friends and relatives in the evening. Stress upon the fact that this day is to celebrate love and not to harm others.
Scientists believe that when the liquid dye or ‘abeer’ penetrates into the body, it strengthens the body’s ions and adds to its health and beauty. Explain to your kid the goodness of natural colours that are made of different flowers and leaves. Knowing the adverse effects of chemical colours will demotivate him to use them for playing Holi. Also, let him know the scientific reason behind ‘Holika Dehen’. Holi comes at the time of the year when the largest growth of bacteria is observed. During ‘Holika Dehen’, the heat from the bonfire kills the bacteria in the surrounding, thus saving us from illness.
Holi marks the arrival of spring. Explain to your kid how the environment changes during spring. Show him the blooming flowers, the trees with new leaves, the bees humming and the birds twittering in the morning. The colourful flowers, the longer evenings and the late sunsets – all hint at the nature being at its best, this time of the year. Teach your kid that Holi is a celebration of nature. This will also help your kid become a nature lover.
3 Days of Holi Celebration
Holi is celebrated across 3 days in many states of India, and each day comes with its own set of rituals and customs.
- Day 1 is Holi Purnima which is a full moon day. On this occasion, small brass pots filled with water and colours are arranged on a thali, and the eldest member of the family gets the celebration started by sprinkling colours on his relatives.
- Day 2, also known as Puno, is when bonfires are lit and images of Holika are burnt, in light of the myth behind Holi. Mothers, along with their babies, walk clockwise around the bonfire five times to seek the blessings of the God of Fire, ‘Agni’.
- Day 3 signifies the last and final day of Holi. People have a blast throwing colours and water on each other in the fun-filled celebrations. Along with this, the idols of Krishna and Radha are also smeared with colours and worshipped.
This Holi, explain to your child the importance of ‘Phalgun’ month in the Hindu calendar. Let him know that it is the full moon day on which Holi is celebrated. Show him the full moon. Use the internet to show him how Holi is celebrated in different parts of the country. Also, encourage your kid and his friends to celebrate an eco-friendly Holi.