culture

Holi : “festival of colours”

 

Holi  also known as the “festival of colours”, is a spring festival celebrated all across the Indian subcontinent as well as in countries with large Indian subcontinent diaspora populations such as Jamaica, suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mauritius, and Fiji.it signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar month of Phalguna, which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. The first evening is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi, Rangwali HoliDhuletiDhulandi, or Phagwah.

Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia.

 In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colours.

Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed the way Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire. The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi – a free-for-all festival of colours,where people smear each other with colours and drench each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and colour each other. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and other musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People visit family, friends and foes to throw coloured powders on each other, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks.Some customary drinks include bhang (made from cannabis), which is intoxicating.In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up and visit friends and family.

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