Holi Moli 2017: the Festival of Colors Celebrates Spring

The history and importance of the Indian festival

| March 21, 2017

Photos by Chimena Ihebuzor.
On Saturday, March 18, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte celebrated the Holi Moli festival. Holi is the Hindu festival of colors that welcomes spring and celebrates the new life and energy of the season. It is celebrated at the end of the winter season, on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna, which falls from February to March. Holi is well-known as the most energetic and funny Indian festival. It is such an important event for India because during the Holi festival strict rules of separation between castes are abandoned. Basically, people celebrate the festival by smearing each other with paint and throwing colored powder in a friendly atmosphere that is filled with great humor.

CAB President Tikayla Downing commented on the festival that was CAB has organized 7 times, “I think it is very important to bring students together and be united as one for our University. For us, Holi Moli is an international event and we organize it yearly. Festivals like Holi help our students to learn more about different cultures, making them even more open-minded. Here at the festival you can find people all around the world, local students, internationals, exchange students and so on, and they are all enjoying Indian Holi. I think that’s great! That is something that really brings us together. I am so thankful for UNC Charlotte for giving us a chance to do this kind of event every year.”

I was really interested in Holi’s nature and I asked Indian students here at UNC Charlotte about it, and what I found out about Holi-Moli is: (1) one of the main advantages of Holi is that this festival is a great leveler and is enjoyed by high and low. Social barriers are broken as people of all ages, genders, castes and wealth gather together and celebrate the festival. By the time everyone has been covered in paint, it is hard to see who is in what caste or what class. (2) One interesting fact about Holi is that people normally do not wear designer clothes for the festival, and there is no chance to see who is rich and who is poor. (3) According to the nature of Holi-Moli, this is the time for family members to get together, give gifts to each other and eat special Indian cultural foods. (4) People can get away from any kind of behavior on the day of Holi just by saying “bura na mano holi hai” which means “Don’t mind, it is Holi.” (5) Many people, except children and teenagers, drink an alcoholic drink made from the female cannabis plant which is also known as a bhang.

After discovering the facts that I listed above, my interest in the Holi celebration increased. The second thing I was interested about Holi was the myths and legends around Holi. My good friend and UNCC’s student Aditi Ramesh helped me and told me the main Holi legend.

“Holi commemorates the miraculous story of Prahlada, a young boy and a devoted follower of the Hindu God Vishnu. Holika was a female demon and the sister of Hiranyakashya, the king of demons. The demon king considered himself a ruler of the Universe and higher than all the gods. Unable to tolerate Prahlada’s devotion to Lord Vishu, the demon king attempted to kill his son several times by poisoning him and throwing him from the top of a mountain, but he failed each time. Finally, he asked his sister Holika, to kill the boy. Holika seized Prahalad and sat in the middle of a fire with the boy on her lap. She was given a magic power by the gods that made her immune from fire, so she thought this was a good plan, and Prahalad would burn to death while she remained cool. Because Holika was using her gift to do something evil, her power vanished, and she was burned to ashes. Prahalad stayed true to his god, Vishnu, and sat praying in the lap of his demon aunt. Vishnu protected him, and Prahalad survived. Shorthly afterwards, Vishnu killed the demon king and Prahalad ruled as a wise king in his father’s place.”

The moral of the story is that good always wins over evil.

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