Holi, one of my favorite holidays growing up, is known as the festival of colors or the festival of love. Holi signifyies the victory of good vs. evil and the beginning of Spring. Everyone wears white and throws colored powder on each other.
Today, you can get any just about any color holi you desire but there are four main colors that have cultural significance. Green symbolizes new beginnings, red symbolizes love and fertility, blue is associated with Lord Krishna and symbolizes power and life and yellow is associated with healing power.
There are three different Hindu legends that commemorate the festival of Holi. All three legends are dark and sad which is surprising since Holi is such a joyous holiday.
The first legend is about the evil King Hiranyakashipu who forbid his son Prahlad from worshipping Lord Vishnu. He forced Prahlad to sit in a fire with his wicked Aunt Holika. Lord Vishnu protected Prahlad in the fire while Holika was burnt to death. The burning of the evil Holika is celebrated as Holi.
The second legend involves Lord Shiva an the hours he spent in deep meditation. One day, Madana, the God of Love tried to test his dedication to meditation and appeared in front of him as a beautiful nymph. Shiva became angry and shot fire out of his third eye making her into ashes.
The third Holi legend is about the love between Lord Krishna and Radha and Lord Krishna complaining to his mother about his dark skin while Radha's complexion was fair. His mother told him to apply color to Radha's skin to see how the color of her skin would change.
Depressing legends aside, Holi is a super fun holiday filled with playful throwing of water and color on friends and family. It celebrates the beginning of Spring with beautiful color, laughter and joy!