Come spring when everything is in full bloom, people across India and around the world celebrate the festival of Holi – a celebration of Rasa (aesthetics), Raas (love) and Rang (colour of shades of life).
Holi is played by throwing colored water and powders on one another in celebration. On this one day—the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Phalguna—societal rankings such as caste, colour and class are renounced in the spirit of merry-making.
Rasa has its roots in Sanskrit, which means “essence,” “taste,” or “flavour,”. It is a unique Indian concept of aesthetic flavour, an essential element of life.
The word ‘raas’ literally means ‘juice,’ and indicate passion. The legend says that when the eight years of age, Krishna moved from Gokula to Vrindhavan, he instantly became popular among his village folk. It was at the time of the Holi festival, just after spring. On a certain evening, a full moon day, the boys and girls of the village gathered on the banks of river Yamuna and started playing and having fun throwing water and sand at each other. Later, that joyful dance turned into celebration of passionate eternal love between of Krishna & the Gopis. Ever since, Holi is celebrated as a festival of joyous love.
‘Rang’, as we all know is the colour. Colours hold significance for people around the world. Not only do colours influence emotion, but they also hold meaning in religion and various cultures. In India, we have the legend of Radha-Krishna attached with the celebration of rang or colour. The story goes that as a child, Krishna was extremely jealous of Radha’s fair complexion since he himself was very dark.
One day, Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about the injustice of nature which made Radha so fair and he so dark. To pacify the crying young Krishna, the doting mother asked him to go and colour Radha’s face in whichever colour he wanted.
In a mischievous mood, naughty Krishna heeded the advice of mother Yashoda and applied colour on her beloved Radha’s face – making her one like himself. This lovable prank of Krishna applying colour on Radha and other gopis using pichkaris gained acceptance and popularity. So much so that it evolved as a a full-fledged festival. Till date, Holi is marked by the use of colours and pichkaris. Lovers long to apply colour on their beloved’s face and express their affection for each other.