US President Joe Biden has wished Happy Holi to people celebrating the festival. The American president took to Twitter to express his best wishes. "I wish the happiest Holi to those celebrating love, laughter, goodness, and the arrival of spring during today’s Festival of Colors," he wrote on Twitter.
I wish the happiest Holi to those celebrating love, laughter, goodness, and the arrival of spring during today’s Festival of Colors. pic.twitter.com/cmD6Y7eZpX— President Biden (@POTUS) March 8, 2023
Holi is not a public holday in the US, however, the New York city council has recognised the day as a day of school holiday in the city. Diwali on the other hand is a federal holiday. In 2021, the US government introduced the Diwali Day Act to declare the day of the festival a holiday.
Although the American president called Holi the festival of colours and a festival that celebrates the arrival of spring, it is in reality much more than that. Holi is a religious festival, and along with Diwali and Navratri, it is one of the three most celebrated festivals. Scripturally, it is a celebration of devotion to God. One of the most popular stories behind the festival is the legend of Prahlada and his evil father, Hiranyakashipu. Prahlada was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu, but his father was determined to kill him because of his faith. However, every time Hiranyakashipu tried to kill his son, he was miraculously saved by Lord Vishnu.
Finally, the demon king's sister, Holika, tricked Prahlada into sitting on a pyre with her, hoping to burn him alive. But the god-fearing Prahlada was saved again, while Holika was burned to ashes. Thus, the festival of Holi celebrates the victory of devotion over religious persecution.
Oddly enough, America's foundation can be traced back to the religious persecution puritan Christians faced in England, who undertook a voyage to the "new world" in Mayflower, to escape the persecution. Persecution which was similar to the persecution Prahlada faced, in the Hindu legend.