After all, it’s St. Pat…
Nah, I’m kidding. (Well, it is that holiday, but that’s not the joke.) This year, Holi falls on March 17 — if you go by the now-mostly-agreed-upon tradition that it begins after the full moon, and not the new moon.
Below is one interpretation of the holiday’s history, from holifestival.org, which has a whole bunch of information: its significance, traditions, and various stories involving Krishna, Siva and others.
My favorite thing from the site is the idea that Holi has a “biological signficance.” For instance: “Besides, the colours when sprayed on the body have a great impact on it. Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it.”
Hmm… not sure about that.
Anyway, here’s a little of the history:
Holi is an ancient festival of India and was originally known as ‘Holika’. The festivals finds a detailed description in early religious works such as Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras. Historians also believe that Holi was celebrated by all Aryans but more so in the Eastern part of India.
It is said that Holi existed several centuries before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is believed to have changed over the years. Earlier it was a special rite performed by married women for the happiness and well-being of their families and the full moon (Raka) was worshiped.
So go on and celebrate. And I guess, color-wise, you could argue for green beer.
Posted by Steve