Holi or the festival of colors is considered to be one of the most renowned festivals in the whole of India. The festival is celebrated for a day and an evening during the month of March with no specific date. Holi begins in the evening of Purnima or when the moon is at its fullest. It is celebrated by the name Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi in the evening, which symbolizes the beginning of spring as well as the triumph of good over evil.
The following day after is known as Holi. The spring festival is known to be called by different names in various parts of India. Holi is a time of joyous moments and brings together communities to cherish the colorful celebration with utmost joy and enthusiasm. It is truly a festival to forget old grievances and meet others with great warmth & high spirit.
The festival of Holi dates back to several centuries BCE, when it was first celebrated in the Braj region of India.
The color, also referred to as gulal is thrown on the second day of Holi, which comes from the legend of Krishna. The perfumed powder is a celebration of Lord Krishna and Radha’s love. It also symbolizes a new beginning to the season and the time when nature brings new colors. The four main powder colors are used to represent key elements of the festival. Red reflects love, blue is the color of Krishna, yellow is the color of turmeric and green symbolizes new beginnings.
The ancient celebration of Holi continues to prosper and grow as the country modernizes. Today, Holi is more than eminent in the world and in India. As the years have passed, the festival has also changed as the people have. The use of water guns or a pichkari as it is known in hindi, are a major part of the fun and excitement that comes with the day long celebration. Spraying friends and family and throwing water balloons with colored powder is a day worth rejoicing. The days before Holi, a variety of foods and desserts are prepared. Some examples are, red lentil tarka dal, Peshwari naan, sweet potato and lentil curry, and spring onion bhajis. As the day approaches, relatives come together and decorate their houses using scented powder and lights.
The festival of color is largely celebrated all over India, Nepal and the world. However, across the world similar festivals to that of Holi exist. The most alike is the La Tomatina festival that takes place in Spain every year. As the name resembles, this festival is the start of new produce for farmers and is celebrated with the throwing of tomatoes. This is similar to Holi in the start of a new season and how people from all over the country come to celebrate a festival. Another major similarity is the use of water guns alongside big water balloons. There are however differences, the most apparent is the use of tomatoes instead of scented powder and only being a one day celebration compared to Holi’s one and a half day.
As years have passed and people have moved from different countries, the diffusion of their culture and tradition has followed. Due to this, festivals like Holi are being rejoiced all around the world in places like the United States and Europe. Accepting and celebrating new festivals adds to the convergence and spread of a practice. By participating and having a hand in different peoples traditions, it will allow for a more diverse and fascinating community that will ultimately add to your perception of the world.
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