Almost all over the world, the so-called “holi colors festivals” have been held for last several years. During such festivals, people are throwing colors at each other and having fun. What is holi? What is the meaning of this holiday in its historic homeland? And is it possible for a Christian to participate in it?
1. Holi is a Hindu pagan religious celebration. The holi festival of colors is established in honor of the demoness Holika burnt alive, in whose honor the holiday got its name. According to Hindu mythology, Holika was the demon and the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu. He thought too much of himself and demanded for his subjects to worship only him. However, his son Prahlada continued to worship the Hindu “god” Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu was very displeased with that. Once Holika took her nephew to her lap and sat down with him in the fire. She was wearing a magical cloak that protected her from fire. She wanted to kill her nephew. However, the cloak flew off of her and covered Prahlada, and Holika was burnt alive.
2. The Indians consider it a holiday of spring as well. Holi is always celebrated on the last day of the full moon of the lunar month of Phalgun, which falls on the end of February or the beginning of March.
3. The coloring is a symbolic applying of the ashes of the burnt demoness upon oneself. In India, the holi festival begins the night before, when Holika effigy is burnt in a large bonfire. Historically, the next day, the Indians smeared themselves with ashes left from these bonfires. Over time, they start to color the ashes or replace it with powder of different colors, what they still do. So, the coloring is a symbolic application of the ashes of a burnt demoness upon oneself. Also, on this day, they consume special drinks and dishes, which include cannabis juice or leaves.
4. Throwing colors at each other is not safe. In India during the holiday, the number of victims of colored dust increases annually. Usually, these are cases of asthma, allergies, skin problems, and even vision loss. Even in India, natural colors are rarely used for this action. They are substituted with various chemical mixtures. But even in case of using hypoallergenic colors, your eyes still remain unprotected.
5. A Christian cannot participate in pagan holidays. This is a grave sin and betrayal of God. Even in the Old Testament, it was described how the Israelites sinned by adopting a pagan feast in honor of the “queen of heaven”. God, through the prophet Jeremiah, says: “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven… Do they provoke me to anger? saith the Lord: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?”( 7:18-19) The Israelites brought misfortune upon their people by this sin, they were defeated and driven into Babylonian slavery.
It is not surprising that many martyrs of the early Christian Church gave their lives for not taking part in pagan festivals. The whole history of the first centuries of Christianity is full of similar stories. For example, under the emperor Nero, St. Archippus from among the 70 apostles was brutally stabbed with knives and stoned together with his parents at Colosse for refusing to participate in the pagan feast. Under Emperor Maximinus, St. Athenogen, the Bishop of Pidahfoi, was killed along with ten of his disciples. One day the ruler of Philomarch arrived in his hometown of Sebastia and decided to arrange a pagan feast. Most of the inhabitants of the town were Christians and they refused to participate in that feast. Philomarch began to torture Christians, forcing them to obey, and when he found out that bishop Athenogen inspired Christians, he killed the saint as well as his ten disciples.
So, if you are a Christian, think about it: is it worth committing a sin and cheating on your faith just to get dirty with some colored mud?