The Holi Festival arrives in Cape Town!

All Capetonians are VERY excited to celebrate Holi for the first time, but barely anyone knows the purpose behind the celebration and its origins. Holi is originally a spring festival – It praises good harvests and fertility of the land. There are numerous legends and history associated with the origin of this spring festival – making it all the more interesting.

In a nutshell – Holi or ‘Phagwah’ is the world’s most colourful festival celebrated by devotees of the Vedic Religion in honour of spring.

Why Celebrate Holi? The festival of Holi can be considered as the celebration of Colours, Unity & Brotherhood. It’s a perfect occasion to forget about each other’s differences and indulge in some real unadulterated fun. Traditionally – Holi has been celebrated in high spirit without any distinction of race, sex, colour, race, status or creed. It is an occurrence where the sprinkling of coloured powder (gulal) or colour water on each other breaks-down all barriers of discrimination – so that everyone looks the same and an universal brotherhood is reasserted. I believe this is one of the main reason to participate in this colourful festival – to feel a sense of unity.

holi festival

Photo Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/85677269@N00/5538617867/

Whats The Meaning of Holi? Holi is derived from the word hola – which means to offer prayer to the Almighty as gratitude for a blessed harvest. Holi is celebrated annually to remind people that those who love God, will be saved and they who torture the devotee of God, will be reduced to ashes.

The Legend of Holika: Holi is also correlated with the Puranic legend of Holika, who was the sister of demon-king, Hiranyakashipu. The demon-king punished his son, Prahlad, in numerous ways in order for him to denounce Lord Narayana. He was unsuccessful in all his attempts. Ultimately, he asked his sister, Holika, to take Prahlad in her arms and enter a raging fire. Holika had an ability which made her immune to fire. Holika followed her brother’s orders – However, Holika’s fire-deterrent ability ended by this act of absolute sin against the Lord’s devotee and was burnt to a pile ash. Prahlad came out of the fire totally unharmed – signifying good’s triumph over evil.

The Krishna Connection: The Holi Festival is also connected with the Divine Dance known as Raaslila – performed by Lord Krishna for the benefit of his devotees of Vrindavan, which is also commonly known as Gopis.

Born in a land of ancient origins, complex cultures interwoven over great expanses of time – Holi portrays the diversity and mythology of India to our senses – even today.

A specific date has not yet been set for this magical event, but it is said to be planned for January 2013. Ensure to book a spot well in advance at your favourite Hotels in Cape Town.

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