The Holi is a famous Hindu spring festival, which is celebrated in India. Holi or the festival of colors is also referred to as the Phagwah (Bhojpuri), Doljatra or Boshonto Utshob (Bengali). The celebration occurs in Spring � the season of love.

The festival of Holi occurs for two days in the end of February or the starting of March. According to the Hindu calendar, the celebration takes place in Phalgun Purnima (Puranmashi or the Full Moon).

Significance of Holi

According to Hindu theology, the king of the demons named Hiranyakashipu was granted a boon by Brahma � the creator, which assured him that he would never be killed by a man or an animal; on day or at night; on earth or on sky; by weapons; inside the home or outside. He then became arrogant and attacked the Earth and the Heavens.

However, Hiranyakashipu�s son, Prahlad was devoted to Lord Vishnu (the sustainer). After failing to kill his son, Hiranyakashipu commanded Prahlad to sit on a pyre and on the lap of his sister, Holika. The fire would not affect Holika, as she would be wearing a shawl that would not let fire affect her. Everyone was surprised to witness that the shawl flew from Holika to cover Prahlad. Holika was burnt and this is observed as Holi.

Celebration of Holi

On the first day of the festival, bonfires are lit at night to resemble the burning Holika. The second day of the festival is called the Dhulandi, which requires the people to hurl colored water and powder at each other.

However, this activity had a scientific and medical significance, in erasing the occurrence of cold and viral fever that is normally brought in with the spring season. The traditional colors had kumkum, neem, bilva, haldi and other medicinal herbs, which are prescribed by the Ayurvedic doctors in eradicating viral fever and cold.

Mothers make new clothes for their daughters who are married. Colored powder or the �gulal� is bought. Long syringes and �pichkaris� are prepared to spray colored water. Colored water balloons are filled and thrown at each other. Colours resemble the passionate rhythm of life.

Food and drink

The food of the festival consists papri, gujjia, kofta curry and kanji ke vade. The special drink of the festival is the �thandai�, which sometimes contain �bhang� or the �Cannabis sativa�. In the later evening, the people invite their friends and relatives and often indulge in feasting and celebrations.

A few days later, Rangapanchami occurs on a Panchami and it depicts the end of the ceremonies that involves colors.

This festival is not predominantly religious; the Sikh and Hindu community celebrates Holi together in Punjab. In Punjab, the festival includes many musical instruments and dholis that are enjoyed by both the adults and children.

Celebration at Mathura and Vrindavan

Lord Krishna grew up in Vrindvan and Mathura. Here, the ceremonies take place for 16 days. The last day is Rangpanchmi celebrating the divine love of Radha for Lord Krishna. Holi is famous for the pranks played by Lord Krishna on the �gopis�. Krishna complained to his mother of his dark complexion and Radha�s fair complexion, to which Krishna�s mother put color to Radha�s face.

However, Holi is a festival that colors and makes your mood vibrant.

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