introduction of Holi
The main legend of the festival of Holi and the reason why it acquired the name centers on the story of King Hiranyakashyap. The proud King insisted that all his people worship nobody but him. Hirantakashyap son Prahlad worshipped Lord Vishnu. so Angry the King told his sister Holika to step into a fire with his son. Holika had received a special boon which ensured that she would never be harmed by flames. She took Prahlad up on to a tower of wooden logs and telling him that by climbing to the top he would be able to come in close contact with all the heavenly Gods. Prahlad readily went with her. Holika was unaware that the boon was effective only on condition that she enter a fire alone. Not being aware of this, Holika stepped into the flames with Prahlad and was herself destroyed. Prahlad was not harmed in any way.
Holika with Prahlad at the top of the tower of wooden logs built like a funeral pyre
Holika getting burnt by the flames ans while Prahlad is not harmed as he prays to Lord Vishnu
Chhota Holi traditions
A traditional fire is burnt on the night of the Holi festival to indicate a destruction of all evil by all that is good. This ritual is known as Holika Dahan and involves burning an effigy of Holika. The day is also popularly called Chhota Holi (small Holi). Sometimes an official priest presides over the traditional fire, chanting the specific Rig Veda mantras. A coconut is thrown into the fire as an offering. Some people also smear the ashes left from the fire the next day, as a kind of purification of the body since the ashes are considered to be holy.
A stack of dry hay and twigs built in preparation for the traditional Holi bonfire
The Holi in Maharashtra
Holi is a vibrant festival in Maharashtra. It is a carnival of colors and costumes. Men wear new clothes at the day's end while along the day they play colors with their loved ones and friends and family members.
To the inhabitants of Maharashtra the festival of colors is commonly known as the Shimga or the Rangpanchami. This carnival is very popular among the fisher folks and is accompanied with merry making and drinking. While they dance the fisher folks are relieved of all their pains and qualms; they seem to incarnate into a new rhythm of life.
Holi Festival Drinks
This is a drink unique to the festival of Holi. Made from a mixture of milk and the leaves & flowers of the cannabis plant. it is generally flavoured slightly with cardamom, nutmeg and cloves and a bit of rosewater. It gives a crazy high and people who drink excess bhang totally go down under. In northern States, the bhang is mixed with a variety of ingredients, such as watermelon seeds, almonds, sugar, saunf, etc. and the drink is known as Thandai.
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