Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ranbir Singh from Hindu Human Rights Group shares interfaith harmony peace message

Image provided by visitor Amita Sharma

On 1st March 2012 Ranbir Singh from the Hindu Human Rights Group delivered a presentation to mark the Hindu festival of Holi. Known as the festival of colours.  Ranbir said;

"Holi is the festival of Spring celebrated traditionally by throwing coloured powder and coloured water over all and sundry. Discarding social norms helps to enhance the atmosphere of excitement and joy which the festival brings. It is for this reason that I feel Holi can also mark the occasion of lowering social barriers which can help different communities to come together and celebrate what we have in common because in Hindu folklore it demonstrates the victory of good over evil."

Holika was the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashyap who used her powers for furthering evil and hence was burned to ashes. It is for that reason that large bonfires are burned during Holi and in many parts of India, a dummy of Holika is burned on the fire.

The main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, or DhulhetiDhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing scented powder and perfume at each other. Bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi), after which holika dahan prayers are said and praise is offered. The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam inSouth India.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2009, Holi (Dhulandi) was on March 11 and Holika Dahan was on March 10. In 2010, Holi was on March 1 and Holika Dahan was on February 28. In 2011, Holi was on March 20 and Holika Dahan was on March 19.
In most areas, Holi lasts about two days. Holi lowers (but does not remove completely) the strictness of social norms, which includes gaps between age, gender, status, and caste. Together, the rich and poor, women and men, enjoy each other’s presence on this joyous day. No one expects polite behavior; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement, fun and joy.
Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the festival Holi. The festival has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring's abundant colors and saying farewell to winter. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating events present in Hindu mythology. Although it is the least religious holiday, it is probably one of the most exhilarating ones in existence. During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw colored powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.

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