2 hours ago
Today marks the first day of Holi, the Hindu festival of colors and which traditionally ushers in spring. Holi derives its name from the demoness, Holika. It is said that the Hindu god, Vishnu killed Holika in order to protect his ardent devotee and Holika’s own nephew, Prahlad when she tried to set him on fire. Holika has been blessed with a boon that she could enter the fire unscathed and hence took Prahlad upon her lap at the behest of her demon brother- and yet, was thwarted in her murderous mission. What she did not know was that she could only survive the fire if she was alone. Today will witness many parts of India performing the ritual of Holika-Dahan, where Holika is subject to symbolic burning, the triumph of good over evil. Is it really so binary though? Some say that Holika actually tried to save Prahlad by giving him the magic shawl that would have protected her from the fire. Some say she had no choice but to follow her brother’s directives to murder his only son. Whatever she was, why she did what she did, I wish we will be able to hear her story in her words one day. In the meantime, she burns in the bluest of the flames, refusing to be forgotten.