Holi festival of colors

The story about an inspiring woman and an inspiring event

On Thursday, I was on my way to work when I got to know a wonderful woman from Boston. She told me that she was on a trip to find herself and to get some experience in life, as she was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago. She was such an inspiring woman, after all she went through, she is now traveling around Europe to find her strength and her inner peace. I told her, how much I admire her courage to tour alone around Europe and that it is a wonderful spiritual journey she is taking. I also told her, she should go to the holi festival, one of the many in Europe and I would attend the one in Tübingen (Germany). And that it would be a wonderful experience for her long journey. Unfortunately she didn’t knew what festival it was. I guess it is just known in Europe? 

Now for all the people, that went to one of the festivals or want to go, here is a little historical background of the Indian celebration.


holi festival of colors in front of an hindu palast

The word “Holi” originates from “Holika”, the evil sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu. King Hiranyakashipu, according to legend, was the King of Multan and had earned a boon that made him virtually indestructible. Now, what happens to people, that have too much power? Exactly, they get blind and arrogant. He thought he was the God and demanded that everyone worship only him.

Hiranyakashipu’s own son, Prahlada, however, disagreed. He was and remained devoted to King Vishnu. What a family drama always …. parents :-). And of course we know how the story continues. Hiranyakashipu got super mad and subjected Prahlada to cruel punishments. Still, Prahlada remained strong. As it isn’t already bad enough between Father and Son, Holika – Prahlada’s evil aunt tried to finish this nonsense of Prahlada and tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. Holika was wearing a cloak that made her immune to injury from fire, while Prahlada was not. As the fire roared, the cloak flew from Holika and encased Prahlada. Holika burned, Prahlada survived.

Bad Karma I would say.

Vishnu appeared and killed Hiranyakashipu. The bonfire is a reminder of the symbolic victory of good over evil, of Prahlada over Hiranyakashipu, and of the fire that burned Holika. The next day when the fire cooled down, people applied ash to their foreheads, a practice still observed by some people. Eventually, coloured powder came to be used to celebrate Holi.

It is primarily celebrated in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of Hindus or people of Indian origin. The night before the festivities, people dance and sing around a Holika bonfire. The day after, Families, Friends and Strangers go on the streets and throw the whole day with coloured powder and coloured water. A festival of happiness and joy.

holi festival girl colored

To come back to the lady from Boston, I think, that the Holi Festival or even another of those many great spiritual festivals would be a great experience during this journey she is currently in.

This kind of experiences gives you a better inner feeling, they make you happy and more conscious about how important happiness really is. More important though, with the positive vibes you get from your surrounding, you get an even greater feeling of joy. And I think, that is exactly what you need after a shock cancer diagnosis.

Now I know that the spiritual event from India got commercialized in Europe, but, the result remains the same. We’re all celebrating joy and happiness and colors in our life.

And who doesn’t want that?

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