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Home   »   Holi Festival   »   About Holi

About Holi

Holi is one of the oldest festivals of India. The festival plays a very significant role in spreading the message of harmony and brotherhood and in unifying the people across the nation. Holi is the celebration of color and is observed with great fervor. People will throw colored powder and drench each other in colored water in Holi.

The celebration normally takes place during February or March depending upon the Hindu calendar. It is observed on the full moon day of the Phalguna month. Holi is a popular festival not only in India but also in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and in countries that have significant concentration of Hindu population like Malaysia, Trinidad, UK, US, Mauritius, Guyana, South Africa, Suriname, and Fiji.

Burning the evil: Holika dahan
The festival is looked upon as a triumph of good over evil. One is expected to let go of negative emotions like jealousy, rivalry and abhorrence and embrace all with love.
The celebration lasts for two days and on the first day of the festival bonfire is lighted that signifies burning the evil and bad. This ritual is known as 'Holika dahan'

According to the Holy Scriptures of Hinduism, Holika was the sister of the demon King Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu became arrogant and started defying God after receiving a boon from them. The son of the king, Prahlada, however, was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. The king took it as an insult and sentenced him to death. But all his effort to kill Prahlada went in vain as he had the blessing of Vishnu.
After many failed attempts to kill Prahlada, Hiranyakashipu finally decided to burn him and Holika, who had the boon that no fire could ever burn her, volunteered to sit in the burning pyre with Prahlada on her lap. But to everyone's astonishment fire consumed Holika instead. Since then on the day before Holi, Holika is burnt to commemorate the incident.

The celebration of Holi
On the day of the festival, people get out in the street early in the morning with colored powder, colored water with sprayers and water filled balloons. They throw colors at each other and shout greetings like 'Holi hai'. The streets, building and people all get painted in gulal (colored powder). In many places processions are held and people sing and dance all the way. The joyous celebration continues till the mid day and in afternoon or evening people visit friends and relatives to distribute sweets and gather for feasts.

The celebration also signifies the onset of spring as the nature starts changing its colors and flowers bloom. It announces the beginning of the agricultural season in this part of the world.

Popular Dishes of Holi
Like most of the Indian festivals, food plays a very curial role in Holi. Sweet meats as well as snacks are prepared with great care keeping the festive mood of the celebration in mind.
Some of the most popular Holi dishes are gujias, laddoos, mathri, kheer, pedas, dahi vada or dahi bhalla, chaat, and pakoras. Holi would remain incomplete without the intoxicating 'bhang ke sarbaat'. You can now find many interesting Holi recipes online.

Holi and romance
Hindus also relate the celebration of Holi to Lord Krishna who is believed to have played Holi with the people of Braj on the full moon day of 'Phalguna'. According to Hindu literature, Krishna, who was from Nandagaon used to visit the village of Barsana to play Holi with his beloved, Radha. Since then lovers have been taking the opportunity of Holi to paint their beloved in the colors of their affection.

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