Updated: Mar 25, 2019
The 2019 Festival of Colors was out of this world! This was definitely one of the most fun-filled, enthusiastic celebrations at the Lalita Chandika Temple and I know we will make a tradition out of it.
We did it all: puja, chanting, bhajans, burning of Holika, dance, and of course, the playful throwing and smearing of bright colors on one another! The family came together in unity and loving harmony like no other time before - and we connected with several newcomers who raved about the evening.
In India, Holi is typically celebrated over a two-day period, but at the Lalita Chandika Temple we condensed the joy into one evening.
In previous post we discussed the tradition of Holika, why we burn Holika, and its spiritual meaning of taking away our ego and negativities. In this post we focus on the stories of Lord Krishna and the splashing of colors.
But first let's back-up to the beginning of the evening where Swami Pranava performed a beautiful Puja to Lord Krishna and chanted the Vishnu Sahashranama.
The evening proceeded with some heart-melting Krishna bhajans that rocked the house and got everyone prepared for the outdoor celebration!
The festivities then moved outside and Shree Maa performed a short puja to Holika.
Then everyone got into the beat of the music and danced. Shree Maa danced with Krishna himself, in form of Raj. Check it out:
Then Shree Maa burned Holika and the devotees celebrated with shouting and laughter as their egos were going up in flames. Shree Maa was so happy that She danced in joy around the burning Holika.
Then came the powder! Everyone participated and lovingly smeared powder on each other showing their love and sharing their joy. The most popular video on our Instagram is of Sadat smearing purple powder on Shree Maa! Check it out:
So why all the powder? Why the dancing with sticks?
Splashing another with Holi colors showers them with your love as you commit to foster a relationship of harmony, truthfulness and respect.
Holi ultimately brings out the spirit of joy and enthusiasm inherent in each and every one of us. This lighthearted festival gives relationships a fresh start and creates bonds of friendships with adversaries as we remember the inherent divinity within each and every one of us.
Holi fosters unity and is an opportunity to forget about our differences. By drenching everyone equally in colored powder, called “gulal,” all social norms and social structures dissolve and the “many” individuals become “one,” with no differences in caste, creed, gender, status, or age.
But, there is a deeper, spiritual meaning to all of the colors and associated fun-filled activities.
The spiritual meaning is associated with beautiful legends about the love of Radha and Krishna and the fun, games, and pranks that Krishna played on the Gopis (cowherd girls).
In one legend, Krishna enjoyed smearing the face of Radha with colors in a playful attempt to make Radha’s very fair complexion more like His own (Krishna was of darker complexion and is called “Shyam,” meaning “Dark One”).
Another legend tells that the naughty, mischievous Krishna delighted in throwing colored powder all over the Gopis.
Lastly, Holi is also associated with the Divine Dance known as “Raasalila” staged by Lord Krishna for the benefit of the Gopis of Vrindavan.
In many parts of India, especially in the places where Lord Krishna spent His childhood, such as Mathura, Vrindavan (also spelled Brindavan) and Barsana (also spelled Varsana), Holi is celebrated in a very special way.
In Bengal, where Shree Maa spent Her childhood, the Holi celebration is called “Dol Purnima” and “Dol Yatra” (festival of the swing). The festival is dedicated to Sri Krishna and is celebrated in a noble and respectable way.
That is the tradition and we eagerly await for Holi 2020! Let's do a repeat!