Holi Festival- India
Sudharam very enthusiastically recalled the tradition of Holi festival celebrated each year in his native India. The festival occurs in late February or early March and is based on the lunar calendar, this festival always happens after a full moon. The premise of the holiday is spraying and covering one another in many brightly covered paints. The expression Happy Holi is exchanged between everyone through the course of the day. Also, a drink known as bhang that contains milk and some form of drug that Sudharam could not identify, the drink is served to all people including children. The result is everyone feeling inebriated and an extreme high.
Directly connected to this celebration are the festivities that precede it the night before which are known as Lorri. According to Sudharam during this night the whole family gathers around a fireplace and they all through wheat grains into the fire which produces a loud popping noise. Sudharam spoke very fondly of this day, saying it was always a good time. He especially enjoyed it as a little kid and recalls waking up early and make balloons of paint and filling squirt guns with paint.
According to Sudharam this festival exists to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Specifically it celebrates the tale of King Hiranyakashyap, he meditated for years and years and embraced the Gods and the Gods asked him what he wanted and he replied that he didnt want to die by animal or human being or during day or night, he essentially wanted to live forever. Because of this he became very powerful and misused his powers and when he went back to his kingdom he abused the people, raping women and causing trouble. So to combat this the God Vishnu came down and took the form of half man, half animal, and killed the King at dawn, neither at night or day, on his doorstep. The celebration known as Lorri the night before with the burning of wheat in the fire represents a woman who was raped by the King and who kills herself by throwing her body on a pile of burning logs.
I feel this celebration represents feelings of ecstasy and delight. Why people need to pain themselves is a little beyond me. However, the festival exists to celebrate good therefore covering everyone with paint and having a good time certainly invokes feelings of euphoria and happiness. Also, the fact that everyone is served a drink to get them feeling drunk adds to the feeling of joy. This celebration also reflects the worldview of the Indian people that involves their religion. I feel that this celebration is very important because it shows that we should not focus so much on the wrongdoing in world but rather celebrate and enjoy life.