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Holi (Festival of Colors)
Holi is the Hindu festival that welcomes the Spring and celebrates the new life and energy of the season. Although Holi has religious roots, not much religious activity is involved in its celebration.
Holi is the most energetic Indian festival, filled with fun and good humor; even the strict rules of separation between castes are abandoned.
It is also called ‘The Festival of Colors’, and people celebrate the festival by smearing each other with paint, and throwing colored powder and dye around in an atmosphere of great good humor
Holi in Brief
• Spring festival, usually celebrated in March
• Celebrates Krishna and the legend of Holika and Prahalad
• Although Holi has religious roots there are few religious things to do
• Very exuberant festival, with dancing, singing, and throwing of paint
• Features gender rivalry, with contests between men and women
• Bonfires are lit during Holi and food offerings are roasted
• Officially celebrated on the day after full moon during the month of Phalunga, which falls in February-March
• During the evening of the full moon, bonfires are lit in the streets. These bonfires not only purify the air of evil spirits, but mark the story of Holika and Prahalad.
• Holi is messy, there is no getting around that!
• People throw powder paint (called “gulal”) at each other (yes, even at complete strangers) and no-one seems to mind. The air is often bright with clouds of colored powder.
• Gulal is powdered color. Most Indian grocery stores sell them in different colors for days before the festival.