Start Of Spring Celebrated At the Hindu Festival Of Colours
Posted March 16, 2006
As the full moon rises, the bonfire is lit with a roar and joyous singing and dancing as colours are sprayed and thrown. The reds, blues and oranges of the kumkum powder make people into modern art features in this Hindu traditional festival of colours.
On Sunday 19th March 2006 were the combined festivals of Holi and Gaura Purnima at Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple in Aldenham near Watford, from 7.30pm.
The festival is expected to draw pilgrims from all over UK and attracts MPs and Councillors, diplomats, business leaders, faith representatives and other dignitaries.
The festivities included:
- At 8pm, the traditional bonfire will be started along with the
throwing of Holi colours (coloured powders) at anyone who dared to walk
outside. There are those who wish to perform a contemplative ritual of
carrying a coconut around the fire and throwing it into the embers. This
represents the act of burning ones miseries and bad qualities to ashes.
- Drama by the Bhaktivedanta Players gives respite to those who either
not brave enough or who are too drenched in colours.
- Devotional music in front of the world famous beautiful shrine as
people sing and dance around the bonfire.
- Sumptuous free vegetarian sanctified food (Prashadam).
"Every year I look forward to Holi because it is the only place in the UK where I can have such fun in a holy place," explained Bhavesh Patel (30).
"Holi is so much fun," said Bharati Gadgil (24), "Its that one time of the year when you are actually allowed to make a mess and throw things at people!"
"In this festival we celebrate both the birthday of Lord Chaitanya and Holi, the festival of colours" explains Gauri das the Temple President of Bhaktivedanta Manor. "Holi combines the act of burning ones miseries and bad qualities to ashes in the Holi bonfire coupled with fun of throwing colours on one another as an expression of the every fresh joy of devotional service.
"Within the philosophical traditions of India it is very much recognised that Lord Chaitanya, who appeared just over 500 years ago, was the ultimate embodiment of love of God. In fact he is God himself having come as a devotee to teach us how to love and serve God by practical example. Thus, his appearance on the Holi, Gaura Purnima is one of our most important celebrations".
Holi is colourful and spectacular festival of India. This festival of joy, mirth and buoyancy heralds the arrival of Spring - the season of hope and new beginnings and marks the rekindling of the spirit of life. This festival is celebrated by children, men, and women of all ages, by throwing
coloured powder at each other! In India, whether rich or poor, everyone takes part in the celebration. This is a way making friends and spreading good will with each other.
A bonfire is lit as devotees are reminded of the great saint named Prahlad. A boy who was taken into a huge blazing fire by his aunt Holika, by order of his demoniac father. Prahlad's. But the little boy did not give up worshipping the god Vishnu in spite of fearful persecution by his father. Holika not affected by fire, took Prahlad and entered a blazing fire. But instead, by divine intervention, it was the wicked aunt who perished and victorious young Prahalad walked out of the fire unhurt. The fire also represents the burning away of all the impurities of the mind, such as egoism, vanity and lust, through the fire of devotion and knowledge. It also ignites cosmic love, mercy, generosity, selflessness, truthfulness and purity.
This exuberant festival is also associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. The young Krishna would complain to his mother Yashoda about why Radha was so fair and he so dark. Yashoda advised him to apply color on Radha's face and see how her complexion would change. The playing or colours is to remind us of the love between Radha and Krsna Holi commemorates this event, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation.
This is the celebration of the birth of Lord Chaitanya, who was considered an incarnation of Lord Krishna and who is who is Radha and Krishna combined. He lived about 500 years ago and showed by example the highest emotion and sentiment of worship and love for Lord Krishna. He also was the first to start peaceful demonstrations and the congregational chanting of Krishna's holy names in the form of the Hare Krishna mantra, for which the Hare Krishna movement is famed.
For more information, please contact
Radha Mohan das on
01923 856269 (w)
07818 815 978 (m)
Gaura Purnima / Holi festivities
Venue: Bhaktivedanta Manor
Date: Sunday 19th March 2006
Time: 7.30 pm
Programme: Lighting of the Bonfire at 7.30 pm, playing of colours, dancing, singing and a Drama.
Bhaktivedanta Manor Hare Krishna temple, originally gifted to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness by the late Beatle George Harrison, is housed in 77 acres of land outside Watford and hosts the largest Hindu festivals in the UK. It has become one of the most important sites of pilgrimage and has a high standard of courses, workshops, civic marriages, cow protection, worship and a monastic facility.
Editors are referred to the separate media pack which includes more
information about Bhaktivedanta Manor and its activities. It also contains
copyright free photographs.