Holi is a colorful and most fun-filled festival which is celebrated in the month of March, usually in the latter half of the month. It is a festival, with dancing, singing, and throwing of powder paint and colored water.
Numerous legends and stories associated with Holi celebration makes the festival more exuberant and vivid. The most popular one is related to the killing of Holika. The story centers around an arrogant king who wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship him. But his son Prahlad refused and worshipped Lord Vishnu instead. He attempts to kill his son but fails each time. Finally, the king’s sister Holika who is said to be immune to burning, sits with the boy in a huge fire. However, the prince Prahlada emerges unscathed, while his aunt burns to death. Holi commemorates this event from mythology, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation.
Great excitement can be seen in people on the next day when it is actually the time for the play of colours. People get all the time to get crazy and whacky. Bright colours of gulal and abeer fill the air and people take turns in pouring colour water over each other. Children take special delight in spraying colours on one another with their pichkaris and throwing water balloons. Women and senior citizen form groups called tolis and move in colonies – applying colours and exchanging greetings. Songs, dance on the rhythm of dholak and mouthwatering Holi delicacies are the other highlights of the day. Parties are often organized where people dance to music and greet each other with colors.
The festival 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 ruptured relationships.
Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun than religious observance. After a fun filled and exciting day, they spent the evening in sobriety when people meet friends and relatives and exchange sweets and festive greetings.
Holi festival may be celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.