The many splendored manifestations of Holi (Holi is on March 17)

New Delhi, March 15: Popularly known as ‘Phagun’ in Uttar Pradesh, ‘Dol jatra’ in West Bengal and ‘Fagua’ in Assam, Holi is celebrated across the country by different names, but symbolises the victory of good over evil.

According to the Indian mythology, Hiranyakashipu, an ancient king, was granted a boon by Lord Brahma, the creator: he was made invincible and couldn’t be killed.

The king soon started forcing people to worship him and stop praying to other gods and goddesses. But despite his orders, his son Prahlada, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, went against him.

Noting this, the arrogant king ordered his son to be killed. Despite Hiranyakashipu’s endless threats and warnings, Prahlada continued to offer his prayers to Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashipu tried to kill Prahlada many times by poisoning his food and making elephants walk over him, but nothing could harm the boy.

The evil king then locked his son in a room full of poisonous snakes. But yet again, he failed.

After this when all his efforts failed, Hiranyakashipu ordered Prahlada to sit on a fire with his sister Holika, who was gifted with a boon that prevented her from getting burnt.

Prahlada readily agreed to his father’s orders and sat on Holika’s lap and started praying to Lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu’s blessings saved Prahalada, but Holika was burnt to ash.

The death of Holika thus symbolises the end of evil. And thenceforth, people across the nation celebrate Holi with fervour by using colours to express joy and happiness.