Holi: India’s Carnival of Colours (侯麗節,印度的色彩盛宴)

Holi (1)

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!

Holi (2)

侯麗節,印度的色彩盛宴

文:Sadhika NANDA(舍堂十一)

譯:劉陽河(胡應湘爵士伉儷堂)

在很久之前的古代,有一位叫作金床的王,由於他認為自己將會成為神且被眾生仰慕,因此自視不凡。但讓他沮喪的是,他唯一的兒子缽羅訶羅陀對他並無敬奉之心卻堅持虔信保護神毗濕奴。金床王被他的兒子激怒,意欲指使自己的妹妹侯麗卡取他性命。

金床王罪惡的念頭正是利用侯麗卡火中不死之身,讓她與缽羅訶羅陀同坐在燃燒的柴堆中。然而,默念守護神的名字,王子奇跡般地活了下來,他的姑母侯麗卡則因為自己不可饒恕的罪行葬身火海。火焰盡情地燃燒著不敗的善念,戰勝了罪惡并帶來了慶典的因由。這就是「侯麗節」的由來。

現在,印度教的侯麗節在春天舉行,它以打敗侯麗卡的火焰命名,標誌著真善美戰勝假醜惡。這捧火焰因循傳統,會在接踵而來的色彩之節前點燃一個晚上。而「色彩之節」的定義則來自飛舞著的各種顏色、生機勃勃的面孔以及永無止息的水仗。

今年的三月末,香港城市大學通過國際生團體組織的小型嘉年華見證了首屆侯麗節。這次慶典只使用了一點顏料和簡單的水仗,還提供印度小吃和一個遊戲攤位。這次活動有來自不同文化背景的近70名學生參加,他們享受著寶萊塢音樂和印度三角餅整個下午都聚在一起,當然,也少不了被水仗濕透的衣服。

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