One of the most popular and major festivals of Hinduism, Holi is being celebrated in Pakistan and other countries around the world, with festivities and enthusiasm.
Holi is considered one of the most revered festivals celebrated mostly in India, South Asia and elsewhere with a sizable Hindu population. What is this ancient festival and what is its significance for the followers of the religion?
What is Holi?
Holi is popularly known as the “festival of spring”, the “festival of colours”, or the “festival of love”. It is celebrated with different names but the festival signifies the victory of good over evil.
It signifies the arrival of spring, the end of winter, the blossoming of love, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.
It is also sometimes called as the “festival of love” as on this day people get to unite together forgetting all resentments and all types of ill-feeling towards each other.
The great festival lasts for a day and a night, which starts in the evening of Purnima or the Full Moon Day in the month of Falgun which calls in the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. It is celebrated with the name Holika Dahan or Choti Holi on the first evening of the festival and the following day is called Holi.
The vibrancy of colors brings positivity in people’s lives and Holi is celebrated with utmost joy and enthusiasm and a day worth rejoicing. The ritual starts by lighting up the bonfire one day before the day of Holi and this process symbolizes the triumph of good over the bad. On the day of Holi, people play with colours with their friends and families and in the evening they show love and respect to their close ones.
Religious, cultural and social significance
For a devout Hindu, Holi brings them close to their religion and mythology as it is essentially the celebration of various legends associated with the festival.
Celebration of various legends associated with Holi reassure people of the power of truth as the moral is the ultimate victory of good over evil. These legends help observe good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful.
This is extremely important in the modern-day society where people resort to evil practices and doesn’t value honesty. Holi helps people to believe in the virtue of being truthful and honest and also to fight away the evil.
Popularity among non-Hindus
The festival of Holi is being increasingly being celebrated by non-Hindus who like to be a part of such a colourful and joyous festival.
This helps to bring the society together and strengthen the social fabric of our country. Many non-Hindus becoming appreciative of other customs and develop tolerance and respect.
The tradition of Holi is that even the enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any animosity that may be present. Besides, on this day people do not differentiate between the rich and poor and everybody celebrate the festival together with a spirit of brotherhood.
In the evening people visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts, sweets and greetings. This revitalizes relationships and strengthens emotional bonds.
Holi in Pakistan
The Hindu community in Pakistan particularly in Sindh celebrates Holi with complete zeal and fervour. The Hindus have made large strides in the different fields and has given significant representation in parliament.
The Hindus of Pakistan are proud patriots who love their country and are willing to work for the development and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Arif Alvi and other political leaders have wished the Hindus community on Holi showing the religious freedom in the country.
“Wishing all our Hindu community a very happy and peaceful Holi, the festival of colours,” the prime minister said on the occasion, exemplifying the efforts for freedom of religion and the protection of the rights of minorities in the country.
Holi is not just religious festival but rather provides us an opportunity to learn about other cultures and religions and should be encouraged. We should celebrate or participate in other people’s festivities and share happiness with them. This will lead to religious harmony and would strengthen the country.