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How Holi is Associated with Radha Krishna?
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How Holi is Associated with Radha Krishna?

Have you ever wondered why the festival of Holi is so widely associated with Radha and Krishna? And why is it celebrated with utmost zeal and enthusiasm, especially around the birthplaces of Radha and Krishna? 

This is because the festival is closely associated with the divine love that this divine couple shared among themselves stories of which continue to inspire us even today.

In this blog, we’ll share two of the most playful stories of Radha and Krishna that explain certain rituals associated with Holi.

Krishna’s Envy & the Fun of Colors

Krishna’s Envy & the Fun of Colors

Did it ever cross your mind as to why we apply colors or gulal on each other’s faces during Holi?

Well, there’s a legendary story associated with ritual.

It is believed that when Lord Krishna was young, he was extremely envious of Radha’s fair complexion. Hence, one day, all disheartened, he approached his mother, Yashoda, and complained about how nature is so unjust that it made Radha so fair and gave him such a dark complexion.

To satisfy his son’s innocent quibble, Yashoda playfully suggested Krishna to go and color Radha’s face with any color he wanted. Little Krishna was quite fascinated by this idea. He immediately ran and smeared Radha’s face with colors in an attempt to make her look like himself. And from here, the ritual of applying colors (Gulaal) began and continues to be practiced even today. Every year, Holi brings the flavors of fun and cheer where people of all ages engage in exciting activities and playfulness, in remembrance of Radha and Krishna.

Latthmar Holi: The Tale of Radha’s Revenge from Krishna

Latthmar Holi: The Tale of Radha’s Revenge from Krishna

Well, this is another interesting custom associated with the story of Radha Krishna. 

It all started when Krishna visited Barsana to meet and celebrate Holi with Radha. And as goes by his mischievous nature, he teased and pranked Radha and her friends. This offended the girls and they decided to take revenge on Krishna and teach him a lesson. They all chased him with thick sticks (lathi) in their hands while Krishna tried protecting himself with a shield.

Following up on this legend, this tradition is still followed especially in the region of Uttar Pradesh. Herein, the men of Nandgaon (Krishna’s village) visit Barsana (Radha’s town) where they’re all greeted by women all ready to chase and attack them with lathis in their hands. It's all a fun and exciting tradition that has been followed for decades now.

Read Also - The Significance of God Idols in Holi Festivities: Symbolism, Tradition, and Celebration

How Did the Festival of Colors Get the Name - Holi?

Festival of Colors

Now that you know about the significance of practicing certain rituals on Holi, let's come down to another interesting aspect - Why the festival of colors is called Holi? Where does this name come from?

Here’s the story behind it.

Once, there lived a demon named Hiranakashyap who was granted a boon of immortality by Lord Brahma. As his power grew, he started acknowledging himself as the supreme lord. However, he could never get his son Prahlad who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu under his influence. This agitated and upset Hiranyakashipu so much that he decided to kill Prahlad and win over the power of the divine.

He made many attempts to kill Prahlad but everything went in wane as the boy was always protected by the mystical power of Lord Vishnu. 

Seeing this, Hiranyakashipu finally went seeking help from his sister Holika who was granted with a special boon of remaining all unaffected by the fire. He suggested Holika to sit on a pyre, carrying young Prahlad in her lap. Having an unsatiated belief in god, Prahlad started chanting the name of Lord Vishnu and remained unharmed by the fire while Holika was burnt down to ashes. Relating to this incident, the festival was named Holi. And ever since then, Holika Dehan has become a widely practiced ritual signifying the triumph of good over evil and the festival got the name - Holi.

Read Also - Why You Should Keep Radha Krishna Idols at Home?

Takeaway

Holi is widely celebrated around the country with great pomp and show. But it's truly exhilarating and exciting in the Braj Bhoomi (including Mathura, Vrindavan, and Barsana) where the festival of colors lasts for over 16 days, each day dedicated to the celebration of love, compassion, playfulness, and innocence that both Radha and Krishna shared. It is during this time that you can actually sense a whiff of love in the air which makes Holi more delightful.

So, who are you celebrating it with this year?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q. What is the real name of Holika?
A.
Holika’s real name was Simhika
Q. Which demon was killed on Holi?
A.
The demoness (asuri) Holika was killed on Holi. She was the sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu.
Q. Who killed Hiranyakashipu?
A.
Hiranyakashipu was killed by Narasimha, the 4th incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Q. Is Holi named after Holika?
A.
Yes, Holi was named after the demoness Holika.
Q. Whose sister is Holika?
A.
Holika was the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu.

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