Here’s a program from our archives.
In India, the first full moon of March marks the beginning of Holi, one of the nation’s most energetic celebration. Certainly its most colorful. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
ambience fire crackling
Nowadays, this event is commemorated on the night of the first full moon in March, with bonfires burning
According to Hindu tradition, long ago an evil king resented the piousness of his son. In an attempt to kill the boy, the king called on his son’s aunt, Holika, who was said to be immune to flames. Holika took the boy and sat with him in a fire, but Lord Krishna intervened to save him. Holika burned to death while the son escaped unharmed.
Well, nowadays, this event is commemorated on the night of the first full moon in March, with bonfires burning throughout India. This marks the beginning of the celebration of Holi, but it’s not until the next day that the festival really gets underway.
ambience Holi crowd
On the second day of Holi, everyone takes to the streets and, amidst cheers and cries of “Happy Holi,” they douse each other with brightly colored water and powders. Children spray passers-by with syringes filled with colors, and in some towns, pedestrians are bombarded with water balloons from the windows above. Soon, the streets the people and their clothing are soaked into one dancing, laughing, and color-tinted crowd.
During Holi, all social barriers are knocked down. Distinctions of class, sex, cast and age are all but forgotten, and the colors help to make everyone equal, at least to the eye. The country’s most powerful people come out to the streets and celebrate with the poorest, and in some towns, even the Muslim residents join in with this Hindu celebration, proving that for at least one day, their differences can be forgotten.
I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.