Basanth Panchami Diwali Durga Puja Dussehra Ganesha Chaturthi Hanuman Jayanthi Holi
Krishna Janamashtami Makarasankranthi Nagapanchami Navarathri Rama Navami Shivrathri
Shivrathri Rama Navami Navarathri Nagapanchami Makarasankranthi Krishna Janamashtami
Holi Hanuman Jayanthi Ganesha Chaturthi Dussehra Durga Puja Diwali Basanth Panchami


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Brahma then appeared before Hiranyakshipu and the demon asked for a boon thus “Let not my death occur at the hands of living beings created by you. holiO’ Lord, let there be no death to me indoors or outdoors, by day or night, from anyone or even through weapons, neither on earth nor in the air, by men nor animals; nor should I meet my death at the hands of animate or inanimate beings, gods, demons or serpents.” Brahma granted him the boon.Believing that he was now invincible, Hiranyakshipu soon became pompous and ordered all his people to worship only him. The demon how ever, had a son named Prahalad who was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. Much to his father's chagrin, Prahalad continued to pray to Vishnu. The evil demon decided to kill his son, but each attempt failed. The king then summoned his sister Holika who, because of a boon, was immune to fire. He prepared a pyre, lit it and asked Holika to sit on it, clutching Prahalad. Vishnu intervened to save Prahalad and the evil Holika perished instead. This legend is relived on Choti Holi when the pyre is re-lit. Holika also signifies the dirt and filth that collects during the winter months. Hay and old rubbish is thrown into the bonfire for spring-cleaning.

Holi at Mathura and Vrindavana is celebrated with great gusto for many days, as these were the places where Krishna spent most of his childhood. It is celebrated for many days here. Each major temple celebrates Holi on a different day. People throng the temples to get drenched with colored water and consider it a blessing from the god. Of particular interest is the Holi festival in the village of Barsana, 42 km from Mathura. Radha belonged to Barsana while Krishna hailed from Nandagaon. On Holi, men from Nandagaon come to Barsana to celebrate Holi with the women here, who are ready to beat them with sticks instead of playing with gulal. This is called lathamar Holi. This is very similar to the dulandi Holi played in Haryana, where the bhabhi beats her devar with her sari rolled up into a rope. All this is done in good humor and in the evening the devar brings sweetmeats for his bhabhi.

In Maharashtra and Gujarat, a grand procession of men soaked with colored water walksholi through the streets shouting 'Govinda alha re alha, Zara matki sambhal brijbala'' or 'Here comes Govinda (another name of Krishna), take care of your pots of butter and milk, oh girls from Brij'. This refers to Krishna's habit of stealing butter and milk stored in terracotta pots from people's homes. As a child, Krishna was extremely fond of milk and milk products. He would prowl into any accessible house with his friends and steal pots of butter or break pots of milk. During Holi, a pot of buttermilk is hung high up in the street. Men forming a human staircase try to break this pot, and whoever succeeds is crowned the Holi king of the locality for that year.

In Bengal, Holi is called Dol Yatra, or the swing festival. Idols of Radha and Krishna are placed on swings and devotees take turns to swing them. Women dance around the swing and sing devotional songs, as men spray colored water at them. In Manipur too, Holi is extremely interesting. It is a six-day festival here, commencing on the full moon day of Phalguna. The traditional and centuries-old Yaosang festival of Manipur amalgamated with Holi in the18th century with the introduction of Vaishnavism. The entire theme of the festival is woven into the worship of Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, also known as Lord Gauranga.

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