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Originally known as Holika, the Holi festival is an ancient spring Indian celebration. Believed to have existed several centuries before Christ, Holi began as a religious festival for Hindus, but has spread across Southeast Asia and to various communities around the world.
See the fact file below for more information on the Holi or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Holi worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The Holi festival dates back to rich ancient origins. It is mentioned in the following Hindu works: Vedas (1500-1000 BCE), Narad Purana (16th-17th century) and Bhavishya Purana, and in Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras written by Jaimini Mimansa.
- Holikotsav is also referred to in a stone inscription (circa 300 BC) found at Ramgarh in the province of Vindhya.
- In the 7th century, an Indian emperor Harsha likewise described the Holikotsav in his Sanskrit play called Ratnavali.
- This festival has also found its reference in numerous paintings, mural and other artworks in the temples of Medieval India.
- A mural from the 16th century located in a temple at Hampi, capital of Vijayanagar, depicts a jovial scene of Holi. It shows a prince and a princess standing in between maids waiting with syringes or pichkaris to wet the royal couple with the colored water.
- An Ahmednagar painting (circa 16th century) also depicts the theme of Vasanta Ragini — spring song or music that represents Holi.
- Others include a Mewar painting (circa 1755) and an ornamental miniature showing an emperor seated on an elephant while young women shower gulal or colored powders from a balcony above him.
- Ulbaruni, a famous Muslim traveler, mentioned the Holikotsav in his historical memoir as well, thus affirming that Holi was also celebrated by Muslims, not just by Hindus.
HOLI LEGENDS AND MYTHS
- In a literal sense, Holi means ‘burning’, and there are a number of legends and myths to explain the origin of the term. Most of these stories deal with a powerful demon king named Hiranyakashyap.
- According to the legend, Hiranyakashyap lived in an indestructible place called Multan, as a blessing granted by Brahma. Eventually, the demon king became arrogant, considered himself a god, and wanted everyone to worship him. However, his son, Prahlad, refused to worship him, as he was devoted to Vishnu.
- Due to his disappointment, Hiranyakashyap asked his sister, demoness Holika, who was immune to fire, to get rid of his son. Holika went into a pyre with Prahlad on her lap, hoping that her nephew would be burnt to death. Little did she know, however, that her immunity to fire only worked if she entered the flames alone.
- As a result, the demoness burnt to death while Prahlad was saved by the grace of Lord Vishnu for his extreme devotion. Therefore, the Holi festival is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil.
- Eventually, it came to be known as the Festival of Colors, and throwing colored powders during Holi is associated with the legend of Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu.
- In the legend, Krishna was embarrassed by his dark blue skin and worried that the woman he loved, Radha, a gopi or a cow-herd girl, would not accept him.
- As a solution, the mother of the Hindu deity told him to put whichever color he liked on Radha’s face, which then became a tradition in the Holi festivities.
- The festival itself takes place on different dates, determined by the phase of the moon.
- It is mostly celebrated over three days in India: the Holi Purnima (first day), the Puno (second day), and the Parva (third day).
- However, in other areas, the celebration is split into two events namely Holika Dahan, wherein people collect and burn wood to symbolize the triumph of good over evil, followed by Rangwali Holi, wherein people gather at major crossroads of cities and throw colored powder at each other.
- The colored powder used is called gulal and is made from herbs, water, sandalwood powder, and rose leaves.
- This tradition of throwing colors is common in north India and widely celebrated in Mathura and Vrindavan.
- The Holi Festival is considered the oldest Hindu tradition and is said to have started even before Christ.
- In a religious sense, Holi is a reflection of Hinduism, with various religious beliefs, legends, and myths associated with it.
- Holi also highlights cultural appreciation mainly because it is celebrated at the time of the year when people expect a good harvest.
- The celebration is believed to promote good health, too. For instance, in the southern part of India, on the day following the Holika burning, people put ash called vibhuti on their foreheads, and they mix sandalwood paste called chandan with young mango leaves and flowers and consume it.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Holi across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Holi worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Holi festival which is an ancient spring Indian celebration. Believed to have existed several centuries before Christ, Holi began as a religious festival for Hindus, but has spread across Southeast Asia and to various communities around the world.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Holi Facts
- Find the Word
- Complete the Information
- Holi Festival in Pictures
- This Year’s Holi Festival
- Holi Festival Around the World
- Holi Festival: Legends and Myths
- Festival Brochure
- Holi Festival as a Symbol
- The Festival of Colors
- Holi Festival in a Nutshell
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Link will appear as Holi Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 14, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.