History of Holi

Anfostar Team Mon Nov 21, 2022
History of Holi
History of Holi

Holi is a very ancient festival of India which was celebrated by the name of Holi, Holika or Holaka. It is also called Vasantotsav and Kama-Mahotsav because it is celebrated with enthusiasm in the spring season.

Historians believe that this festival was prevalent among Aryans as well, but mostly it was celebrated in Eastern India only. The description of this festival is found in many ancient religious books. Prominent among these are Jaimini's Purva Mimamsa-Sutra and Katha Garhya-Sutra.

This festival is also mentioned in ancient manuscripts and texts of Puranas like Narada Purana and Bhavishya Purana. It is also mentioned in a 300 year old inscription located at Ramgarh place in Vindhya region. Spring season and spring festival have been the favorite subjects of many poets in Sanskrit literature.

Well-known Muslim tourist Albaruni has also described Holikotsav in his historical travel memoir. Many Muslim poets of India have mentioned in their writings that Holikotsav is celebrated not only by Hindus but also by Muslims. The most authentic history pictures are of the Mughal period and the tales of Holi in this period are intriguing.

Akbar's description of playing Holi with Jodhabai and Jahangir's with Noorjahan is found. A picture from the Alwar Museum shows Jahangir playing Holi. By the time of Shah Jahan, the Mughal style of playing Holi had changed. History describes that during the time of Shah Jahan, Holi was called Eid-e-Gulabi or Aab-e-Pashi (shower of colours).

It is famous about the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar that his ministers used to go to paint him on Holi. A detailed description of Holi is also found in the pastimes of Krishna depicted in medieval Hindi literature.

Apart from this, pictures of this festival are found on the walls of ancient paintings, frescoes and temples. A joyous picture of Holi is engraved on a 16th-century easel from Hampi, the capital of Vijayanagara. In this picture the princes and princesses along with the maids are shown coloring the royal couple in the colors of Holi with colors and pichkari. Vasant Ragini is the subject of a painting from 16th century Ahmednagar. In this picture, a couple of the royal family is shown swinging in the garden. Along with this, many female servants are busy in dancing, singing and playing colours.

They are pouring color on each other with pichkaris. Live images of Holi can be seen in the frescoes and figures of medieval Indian temples. For example, a 17th-century Mewar painting depicts the Maharana with his courtiers. The ruler is giving gifts to some people, the dancer is dancing and in the middle of it all there is a pot of color. A miniature from Bundi shows the king seated on an ivory throne with women rubbing gulal on his cheeks.

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