Rang Panchami 2023: Learn All About This Colourful Festival
Rang Panchami, commonly referred to as Holi, is a spring festival among Hindus in India. Its duration is 2 to 5 days depending on the regions and traditions. According to Hindu panchang, it is celebrated on the fifth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun.
The five days before Rang Panchami, a bonfire is ignited, which is called Holika, and the next day is throwing colours on each other to celebrate the peak time of spring. Holi is mainly celebrated by most parts of India on a full moon, approximately 5 days before. Lately, the media portrayal, not to mention Bollywood, has changed the trend of celebrating Holi as the main festival instead of Rang Panchami as many people in the cities prefer to enjoy Holi rather than Rang Panchami. However, rural areas still celebrate Rang Panchami with the same enthusiasm as before.
Have a look: Holi 2023
History Of Rang Panchami
Legends Related To Rang Panchami
Prahlad and Hiranyakashyap
In Hindu mythology, there was a wicked king Hiranyakaship who announced himself as a God and ordered his kingdom to worship him only. Although his only son, Prahlad, refused to give in because he was a devotee of Lord Vishnu, one who is believed to nurture the world. Due to this, the king ordered and tried to kill him many times, but every time Prahlad was saved simply by pronouncing Vishnu’s name.
Eventually, the king called his evil sister Holika, who was blessed as someone immune to fire. She took the child, Prahlad, in her lap and sat in flames with him. When the fire had diminished, Prahlad was safe while Holika’s ashes only remained.
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Lord Krishna and Putna
Rang Panchami is also celebrated as the demise of a female demon Putna. When Lord Krishna was born, his maternal uncle and king of the region Kansa who was also his enemy as the prophecy of his doom, was Lord Krishna, who was born by his blood sister. Kansa ordered the female demon to massacre all newborn children in the region so that Krishna could also be finished.
Putna then took human form to roam the whole country and breastfeed her poisoned nipples to every baby she could find. When Krishna found her knowing who she was, drained her life. Her lifeless body was then burnt by the families of the children she had poisoned.
Rang Panchami Date and Timings in 2023
Significance of Rang Panchami
What Bonfires Stand For?
Bonfires or fires have held a spiritual significance in Hindu Religion. Bonfires lightning is a must on Holi because both Holika and Putna were burned to death for their evil deeds. As some people celebrated the victory of good over evil when Prahlad was saved, and Holika turned into ashes.
In contrast, some people celebrated the death of Putna, whose body was burnt by the families of the children she had killed.
Preparations for bonfires usually start weeks ago from collecting scrap wooden shavings to old broken wooden furniture from every home. After the moonrise, bonfires are lit everywhere in India with beating drums.
People sing and dance around bonfires and worship the fire. It is believed to keep them healthy for over a year if they offer coconut to the bonfire and purify their souls. People often bring half-burnt wood or ashes to home as they believe it to purify their home from illness.
What Colours Stand For?
The fire from the bonfire the night before breaks down Rajas and Tamas particles in the atmosphere, which activates various deities in the form of colours. The dominance of Rajas-Tamas particles in a person is reflected as greed, malice, gluttony and attachment to materialism and can be a hurdle in attaining ultimate bliss.
This victory over Rajas-Tamas particles is celebrated by throwing colours in the air, and Rang Panchami is the celebration of it all.