Colours and Joy unbound
Celebrating the union of Lord Shiva and his beloved Parvati, Maha Shivaratri marks the convergence of the divine male and female principles of the universe. Sacred chants render the air through the night, as bael leaves and milk are offered to the ‘lingam’. It is believed that Shiva saved the creation by drinking cosmic poison on this night, which gave him the name of ‘Neela Kantha’.
Colours come trickling in with Holika Dahan. The story goes that Prahalada was ordered to sit in a pyre with his aunt Holika. While she perished in the fire, Prahalada’s faith in the ultimate divine made sure that he was unharmed. In North and South India, a great pyre of wood and cow dung cakes is lit to symbolise the burning of Holika.
The next day, which marks Holi is a complete contrast. To the tame Holi might just be about applying ‘gulaal’ on the cheeks, but it turns into a day of unstoppable merriment induced by the ever-popular ‘bhang’. A not so pious traditional drink it will make you sing and dance like you never imagined you would.
The month ends on a sweet note (cakes and chocolate bunnies galore!) with Easter. It marks the end of Holy week for Christians when Jesus was resurrected from the dead.