Holi: India’s Carnival of Colours
By: Sadhika NANDA (Hall 11)
Images: Sadhika NANDA (Hall 11)
Once upon an ancient time, there lived a king by the name Hiranyakshyap. He was a king like no other, for he thought himself to be god and wished to be worshipped. To his dismay, his very own son, Prahlad chose not to worship him and instead had great faith only in Lord Vishnu, the Preserver. The king was infuriated with his son and attempted to kill him, at the hands of his sister, Holika.
King Hiranyakshyap’s unholy thoughts prompted him to make use of Holika’s ability to withstand fire, as he asked her to sit upon a burning pyre with Prahlad in her lap. However, chanting the name of the Preserver, the king’s son miraculously survived while his aunt did not: she paid with her life for a deed as unforgivable. Alas, the fire burned with the undefeated flames of good, thereby overcoming evil and giving us a true cause for celebration; one that is more often known as ‘Holi’.
The Hindu festival of Holi today is celebrated in spring, to mark the triumph of good over evil and is named after the fire that defeated Holika; a fire that is now traditionally lit a night before the festivities of colour ensue. Such festivities make Holi the ‘Festival of Colours’ as they are defined by flying colours and vibrant faces, and an incessant water fight too.
This year, CityU saw its very first Holi as the CityU International Students Society (CUIS) organised a mini carnival of their own in late March. The celebrations entailed just a little bit of colour and a brief customary water fight, with Indian snacks and a game stall to seal the deal. The event saw a turnout of nearly seventy students, from different cultural backgrounds; all of whom got together for the afternoon to bond over Bollywood music and samosas, and of course, drenched clothes!