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The Holi story, or should I say stories?

Author: Pauline Rodary
2 Minutes

The Holi story, or should I say stories?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Like any other expat, Indian festivals fascinate me. They are always loud, colourful, and full of life. However, the one that stands out to me the most, and in fact, the most colourful celebration of them all is Holi. But why is Holi such a big deal anyway? Let’s break it down.

The legend goes like this; there was a king who demanded to be worshipped as a god. He couldn’t be killed by man nor by an animal, in the morning nor at night, inside nor outside the house. However, his son chose to disobey him and continued to worship Vishnu; because of this, his dad punished him by burning him. The king’s sister, who had a cloak that protects her from fire, tricked the boy into sitting with her on the pyre. Nevertheless, when the fire was lit, the cloak flew from her and covered the boy instead. The boy lived. The god Vishnu later killed the king in the afternoon, in his doorway, while appearing in the avatar who is half man and half lion. And thus, Holi is celebrated.

Now, if you’re wondering, “but how does the colour fit in?” Well, brace yourselves, because there are more legends to Holi! According to another story, Krishna was feeling a little insecure about reaching out to a girl, because of his blue skin. His mother encouraged him and told him to throw any colour he wanted to this girl so that she will be colourful too! Ever since then, the playful act of putting colour on each other became a major festival!

No matter what the actual story is, this festival seems to bring people from different cultures and walks of life together. In my first Holi here, I was beyond thrilled with the idea of participating in it; however, I did not know where or how to celebrate it. So, I spoke about it to my friends, both Indians and fellow expats, and we found ourselves at an event at one of the farmhouses in the city.

No matter what the actual story is, this festival seems to bring people from different cultures and walks of life together.

The holi story 2

What really made an impression on me was how colours were flying everywhere! Friends or strangers, no one minded it, and truth be told, everyone seemed to be delighted to have colour smeared on their faces! It was as if we were all the same, for once, our differences did not matter. I guess during Holi, there is solidarity amongst everyone celebrating it—I colour your face, you colour mine. Just like that, a bond is created.

I might not know the real story behind Holi, or understand it, but for me, Holi presents itself as a time to spread joy, create bonds, and share with the locals their culture, as well as their zest for life, which basically defines everyday life in India!

…everyone seemed to be delighted to have colour smeared on their faces! It was as if we were all the same, for once, our differences did not matter. I guess during Holi, there is solidarity amongst everyone celebrating it—I colour your face, you colour mine. Just like that, a bond is created.

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