Hundreds of people gathered today at Leicester’s Spinney Hill Park to mark the celebration of Holi festival 2018, despite the blistering cold temperatures.
Known as the Festival of Colours or Festival of Love, Holi symbolises the beginning of spring and also the triumph of good over evil.
The origins of the celebrations come from the story of Holika, the evil sister of demon Hiranyakashipu who attempted to make everyone worship him, but his son Prahlada refused and swore his devotion to Vishnu. According to the legend, Holika then tried to trick Prahlada into sitting on a pyre with her, because she had a fireproof cloak, but when the fire burned the cloak flew onto Prahlada, protecting him while Holika was killed. As such, the tale symbolises the classic victory of good over evil.
Holi is celebrated mostly in India and Nepal and, although mainly a Hindu festival, it is also widely observed by other religions around the world.
Communities and all ages came together in good spirits to watch the lighting of the Holika bonfire which is to be lit at the correct time according to the Panchang (Hindu Calendar). The crowds had their coconuts at the ready for sacrifice, which were then blessed and cracked open. This ritual expresses hope for new beginnings and traditionally signified the growth of a new harvest coming in.
Unfortunately, the traditional throwing of coloured powders and water didn’t take place due to the poor weather conditions.
The Holi festivities will continue this week on Friday 2nd March at Cossington Street Recreation Ground and at Abbey Park on Saturday 3rd March.