http://www.sina.com.cn 2007年04月03日 00:14
This colourful festival of Hindus, celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna, heralds the advent of spring. On this day people visit each others home, distribute sweets and apply gulal on each other signifying the colourful and happy spring time ahead. People throw colourful powder, coloured water on each other through pichkaris. Thandai, a drink made with cannabis, almonds and milk, is extremely popular on this day.
The day before Holi is Chotti Holi or small Holi. The main ritual on this day centres around a bonfire ceremoniously kindled at the time of the rising moon. This suggests that the festival is also a celebration of the barley harvest. People start collecting firewood, cowdung and rubbish around a central pole in the locality many days in advance. On Chhotti Holi everyone comes together to light the fire. A pot of new barley seeds is buried under the pyre for roasting. These seeds are eaten after the fire is extinguished. The ashes from the Holy fire are also believed to provide protection against diseases.
The origin of this custom can be found in the pranks of Krishna, who used to drench milkmaids in the village with water and play various other tricks on them. Holi festival is not celebrated in South India but a similar festival in the honour of the God of love, Kama, takes place there at the same time.
Holi fire is regarded as a funeral pyre for it is understood to have destroyed Holika, a demoness. According to a legend Hiranyakshipu was a demon king. He wanted to avenge the death of his younger brother, who had been killed by Vishnu. He performed severe penance for many years to gain enough power to become the king of the three worlds. So intense was his penance that a smoke billowed from his head and the entire world was in the danger of annihilation. Worried, the Gods ran to Brahma for help. Brahma then appeared before Hiranyakshipu and the demon asked for a boon that he would be killed by neither man nor beast, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither on earth nor in heavens, neither during the day nor at night. Brahma granted him the boon.
Believing that he was now invincible, Hiranyakshipu soon became pompous and ordered all his people to worship only him. The demon however, had a son named Prahlad who was ardent devotee of Vishnu. The evil demon decided to kill his own son but each attempt failed. The king then summoned his sister Holika who because of a boon was immune to fire. He prepared a pyre, lit it and asked Holika to sit on it, clutching Prahlad. Vishnu intervened to save Prahlad and evil Holika perished instead.
This legend is relived on Chhoti Holi when the pyre is re-lit. Holika also signifies the dirt and filth that collects during the winter months. Hay and old rubbish is thrown into the bonfire.
Holi at Mathura and Vrindavana is celebrated with great gusto for many days, as these were the places where Krishna spent most of his childhood.
People get drenched with coloured water and consider it as a blessing of God. Holi festival in the village of Barsana 42km from Mathura is of special interest. Radha belonged to Barsana while Krishna hailed from Nandgaon. On Holi, men from Nandgaon come to Barsana to play holi with the women there. Women beat the men with sticks rather than applying gulal. This is called lathmar Holi.
In Maharashtra and Gujarat, a grand procession of men soaked with coloured water walks through the streets shouting ‘Govinda ala re, Zara matki sambhal brijbala re!’ This refers to Lord Krishna’s habit of stealing butter and milk stored in terracota pots from people’s homes. As a child Krishna was very fond of milk and milk products. He would prowl into anyone’s house and steal or break pots of butter and milk. During a holi, a pot of buttermilk is hung high up in the street. Men forming a human staircase try to break this pot.
In Bengal, holi is called Dol Yatra or the spring yatra. Idols of Radha and Krishna are placed on swings and devotees take turns to swing them. Women dance around the swing and sing devotional songs, as men spray coloured water on them.
In Manipur, holi is a six-day festival. The traditional and centuries old Yaosang festival of Manipur amalgamated with Holi in the 18th century with the introduction of Vaishnavism. The entire theme of the festival is woven into the worship of Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thabal Chongba, a popular Manipuri folk dance is associated with this festival. Instead of a bonfire, a hut is built and then later set ablaze. The next day boys play with gulal with the girls. And in return for playing with them, the girls extract money from the boys. Another significant feature of the festival of Manipur is the groups of devotees from different areas who gather at Shree Govindaji Temple in Imphal. Dressed in the traditional white and yellow turbans, they sing songs in the praise of Krishna and Chaitnaya Mahaprabhu.
在马哈拉施特拉邦与古吉拉特邦，浸透颜料水的男人们会举行盛大的游行，穿过街道，并且大声喊叫“Govinda ala re, Zara matki sambhal brijbala re!”这与克利须那神从人们家里的陶瓦罐中偷窃黄油与牛奶相关。克利须那神小的时候，十分喜欢牛奶与牛奶制品。他会潜入他人屋内，偷窃或者打碎黄油与牛奶罐。在好利节，一个黄油与牛奶罐会被高高悬挂在大街上。男人们组成人梯，试图打碎这个罐子。