The Holi Festival
Holi is the Hindu “festival of colours” or “festival of love” which generally falls on a full moon in March. Celebrated in Spring, to mark the end of winter and commemorate nature’s spring beauty with a good harvest that symbolises prosperity and happiness, and to play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.Holi is a two-day festival and begins the night before the main festival with choti (small) Holi, where a large bonfire is lit on the streets as a symbol of Holika Dahan (burning of the demoness Holika) symbolic to celebrating the victory of good over evil.
There are many legends given as to the reasons for celebrating Holi, the most well-known one is that of King Hiranyakashyapu and his son Prahlad.Prahlad's devotion to God (Vishnu) enraged his father. He asked his sister Holika, who was immune to fire, to sit in a fire taking Prahlad in her lap. Prahlad, who was blessed by God, was saved and Holika was burnt to ashes. This gave birth to the festival of Holi.
Holi celebrations begin the morning after the Holika bonfire. There is no tradition of holding
prayer, and the day is for partying and pure enjoyment. Children and young people form groups
armed with dry colours, coloured solution and water gun, water balloons filled with coloured
water, and other creative means to colour their targets.Everyone in open areas such as streets and parks are game, but inside homes or at doorways only
dry powder is used to smear each other's face. People throw colours and get their targets
completely coloured up. It is like a water fight, but with coloured water. People take delight
in spraying coloured water on each other. By late morning, everyone looks like a canvas of
colours. This is why Holi is given the name "Festival of Colours".Groups sing and dance, some playing drums with plenty of traditional delicacies of food,
including the famous bhang drink (made from cannabis) consumed by adults.Holi is now celebrated all over the world to bring joy, life, happiness and togetherness.
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