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Holi: why we do it and how to celebrate it – 2021 style

The arrival of Spring in India, means one thing: Holi!

A festival of colour, joy, love and most importantly the triumph of good over evil.

Hindus in the diaspora, including South Africa, will celebrate the joyful occasion on March 28 and 29. This year, however, it comes as most countries have social distancing and lockdown measures in place. So while it might be a bit of a muted affair publicly, we can still celebrate it with equal vigour and joy within in our homes.

Holika Dahan is observed the day before Holi around a bonfire. In most cases, devotees offer flowers, fruit coconut, milk and water around the fire. This fire is symbolic of the flaming pyre that Holika. She was the evil-minded sister of King Hiranyakashyap sat in to harm the son of the king, Prahlad for not singing his father’s praises. Prahlad was a fervent devotee of Lord Vishnu/Thirumal and when he was sitting in the lap of Holika, the fire spared him. Instead it engulfed Holika, therefore symbolising the triumph of good over evil.

Holika. Creator: Adam Cohn CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/adamcohn/45067400651

Just as Diwali is a celebration of light over darkness as seen with the lamps and fireworks to light up the night; we celebrate Holi 2021 with colours, love, joy, dance and laughter!

If you intend on observing Holika Dahan at a Mandir, be safe, otherwise, here are some ways we can observe it at home:

Lighting a fire in your backyard or balcony is probably a hazard. Instead, perform a pooja in front of a lamp, where you can offer milk, water, fruit, flowers and a coconut. Pray to Lord Vishnu/Thirumal and use the moment to reflect on all the goodness and positivity you can invite into your life to get rid of the evil.

Then begins your celebration.

First, music: queue the old and iconic Soni Soni Akhiyon Wali from Mohabattein and the Big B’s 1980s hit Rang Barse from Silsila. If that’s not enough to get you dancing, then try Holi Khele Raghuveera from Baghban.

Its a Deepika Padukone Holi 2021

If you’re a fan, you have a lot to choose from!

Balam Pichkari from Yeh Jawaani Hain Deewani is a good one to start you up! It’s a true show of how fun Holi is (minus the appropriation).

Lahu Muh Lag Gaya from Ram Leela. That’s the scene where Ram, played by Ranveer Singh and Leela played by Deepika Padukone meet and where their love story begins in the movie (and in real life). This one is bound to get our Gujarati folk up and ready to do Garba. (Songs from Loveyatri will do the same).

If you’re looking for something more mellow, there’s Mohe Rang Do Laal from Bajirao Mastani, again with Padukone, looking as elegant as ever as a Kathak dancer. Finally and more recently is Holi from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, where Padukone acts with Shahid Kapoor and her real-life husband Ranveer Singh as the villain.

Now that we’ve got you hyped up and in the mood. Get ready to play Holi!

Bring out the coloured powders, water balloons and water guns and paint the day beautifully. Don’t worry about your clothes getting messed โ€“ it’s all part of it!

Why the colours?

Holi is also meant to commemorate the Divine love between Lord Krishna and Radha. Lord Krishna, while in his youth was playing among the Gopis in His birthplace of Mathura. Govinda despaired over whether Radha would like him because of his dark skin colour. His mother Yashoda Ma told young Krishna to take coloured powders and ask Radha, who already loved Lord Krishna eternally, to playfully smear it across his face. In some places, it is customary for the wife to be the first one to smear colour on her husband’s face, another show of love.

So, as you begin the venerations of this beautiful day, remember to let go of the bad, invite the good and celebrate with love, laughter and joy! Eat to your heart’s content! Make Holi 2021 memorable and be safe!

Read: Holi: as seen in epic Bollywood films
Holi: The origins of this colorful festival
Holi by Astrological sign

By: Aarti Bhana

About Indianspice Staff Reporter

Report and write stories for Indianspice.co.za. It is our ambitious goal to cover issues/events/news concerning South Africa and the diaspora.