Home Festivals of India - Holi
Holi,Colours of Holi Festival alsocalled the Festival of Colors, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Srilanka, and countries with large Hindu Diaspora populations, such as Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, the UK, USA, Mauritius, and Fiji. In West Bengal of India and Bangladesh it is known as Dolyatra (Doul Jatra) or Basanta-Utsab ("spring festival"). The most celebrated Holi is that of the Braj region, in locations connected to the god Krishna: Mathura, Brindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana. These places have become tourist destinations during the festive season of Holi, which lasts here to up to sixteen days.
Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam in Andhra Pradesh.
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalgun (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2009, Holi (Dhulandi) was on March 11 and Holika Dahan was on March 10.
Rangapanchami occurs a few days later on a Panchami (fifth day of the full moon), marking the end of festivities involving colors.
Holi celebration takes place with lot of joy and verve throughout the country. The enthusiasm of the people reaches its peak and matches with the nature which is in full bounty at the time of Holi.
Holi is being celebrated in India since time immemorial but the popularity of Holi celebrations seems to be rising with every passing year and so is the level of hoo-ha. As no other festival gives so much liberty to the people to let their hair loose and enjoy their hidden crazy self.
Differences of any sort are drowned in the colored waters of Holi and people just enjoy being a play animal. To further enhance the festive spirit of Holi celebrations we have a social sanction to get a kick with the tradition of bhang. Then there is total wildness as people dance to the rhythm of dholak and sing traditional folk songs in loudest possible pitch.
Children particularly enjoy the festival as they throw water filled balloons at passersby...and if anybody stares. They have ready answer, 'Bura Na mano Holi hai....' and evoke a smile on the irritated face. Besides, they have their water missiles, called pichkaris to drench even those who are far away.
In the midst of these coloring games are savored the mouth watering holi specialties like gujiya, malpuas, mathri, puran poli, dahi badas etc and downed with glasses full of thandai.
And after a wild and eventful day, evenings are celebrated in a dignified manner by visiting friends and relatives. People exchange sweets and hug each other conveying the warm wishes for Holi. These days there people also participate and organize Holi Meets and enjoy the festival till late in the night.
At some places especially Mathura and Banaras Holi celebrations continue for a week as each major temple organize a Holi bash on different day. Lovers of the festival enjoy every moment to the hilt.
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