AS WE BRUSH AWAY THE WINTER BLUES, WE WELCOME THE WARMTH OF THE FESTIVAL OF COLOURS IN THE CITY
The city of Leicester will come to life during the colourful Holi celebrations in March this year, as thousands will gather at various venues across the city to participate. This year, the festival will be celebrated on the 6th of March, as the season of spring signifies rebirth, revival, faith and the victory of good over evil.
Holi, known as the ‘festival of colours’ or ‘love’ is celebrated with great spirit by Hindus in India and across the globe. On the special day of Holi, devotees across all age groups; colour each other with dry powder and water, using water balloons, sprinklers or water guns.
Going back to its origin in India and Indian mythology, the word ‘Holi’ is coined from the word Holika, the name of the evil sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, who demanded that everyone worshiped him. His son Prahlada chose to only worship the Hindu Lord Vishnu, making his father Hiranyakashipu very angry. Eventually, Prahlada’s wicked Aunt Holika trapped Prahlada in a fire and Holika wore a shawl that made her injury-resistant, whereas Prahlada was left exposed. When the fire became stronger the shawl flew over from Holika and wrapped Prahlada instead. This is how Holika burned and Prahlada lived on. Thereafter, Lord Vishnu came and killed Hiranyakashipu, marking the celebration of victory of good over evil, and of Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu.
Food is an essential part of the Holi festivities and a variety of traditional Indian savoury treats on offer will include: gujiya, mathri, pakora and kachoris, as well as specially prepared sweet treats known as ‘mithai’.
The city’s Golden mile will attract visitors from all over the country and members of the local community will unite for the religious bonfire ceremony at venues including Cossington Street Recreation Ground and Spinney Hill Park, as many people of all ages will play with the coloured powder, creating a vibrant atmosphere of joy, marking the arrival of spring and to commemorate the significant day in the Hindu calender.