Holi

Holi, a Hindu festival, is known as festival of colors. In Phalgun (sometime in March) comes the Hindu festival of colours, Holi. It marks the end of winter and commencement of summer. People observe Holi by enthusiastically throwing coloured water (or powder) on one another and exchanging good wishes and sweets. On the night before Holi, bonfires are lit (Holika Dahan) to symbolize the destruction of the evil demon Holika.

There are many legends concerning the origin of this gay spring festival. The most popular among these concern Prince Prahlad, the god-fearing son of the evil king Hiranyakasipu. Prahlad did not give up worshipping the god Vishnu in spite of fearful persecution by his father and his demon aunt Holika. Ultimately, when Holika, who was immune to death by fire, took Prahlad and entered a blazing furnace built for his destructions, it was the wicked Holika who burnt to ashes by divine intervention, while Prahlad came out unscathed.

Holi is a festival of colour. Riotously gay crowds fill the streets, squirting colored water on all passers-by. All people, regardless of age, caste or station, participate in this fun. On the evening preceding the colour festival, bonfires are lit. This symbolises the burning of Holika and the destruction of evil. Holi is also associated with the divine love of Radha and Krishna, and is celebrated with particular éclat in the villages around Mathura, the birth-place of Krishna.

As the dates and timings of any Hindu festival is arrived at on the basis of lunar calendar, therefore Holi is observed and celebrated in the month of February/ March.



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