Holi is an ancient Hindu festival which is also quite popular among the Non-Hindus living in India and other parts of the world. In the last few years, this festival has been seen celebrated by the people in Europe and North America as a spring festival that depicts and celebrates love and color.
The rituals begin a night before the Holi festivals with Holika Dahan. This is where people perform religious rituals surrounding a bon fire. This signifies the inner evil getting destroyed in the fire just as the Holika the sister of evil king Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire. The next morning is the main festival where people play with colors and drench each other. This is one way of showing love to the fellow human beings and respects others. Several things were used in the Holi festival such as water guns and water balloons filled with color.
The festival embodies the essence of equality as anyone either it be a rich or poor, friend or a stranger, woman or children, everybody comes out and play Holi with everyone else. During the day time, the frolic and color fights can be seen among groups in the streets. There are many people who carry drums and musical instruments in these color fights. They also go for processions. People also visit their family members to play Holi with them. Women prepare Holi delicacies and drinks and serve them to their guests. Among the drinks, Bhang (marijuana) drink is quite popular among the people. This is intoxicating. In the evening after sobering up, it’s time for dress up well and visits the friends and families for dinner and enjoyment.
Holi is a very important festival in India which is also celebrated by Non-Hindus. It is a national holiday in India and regional holiday in countries like Nepal. There are several other countries where Holi is celebrated. It is a very playful festival here you can throw colors to your friend and strangers keeping the brotherhood alive. Many old enemies become the friend in this festival forgetting the past fights. In March Holi is celebrated in the last full moon day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month marking the spring.
There are many purposes of this festival. One of those is the beginning of spring is celebrated in this festival. In the 17th century, this festival was celebrated as good harvesting season, and fertile land is there with the people always. Hindus celebrate this festival as the winter is ending and the colorful season of the spring is onset. That is why there are so many colors that are used in this festival. There are also many Hindus who believe that this is the time when we should forget the past conflicts and end fights with others and become the friend of the god of the society.
According to the religious purpose, Holi is celebrated because the night before Holi is Holika Dahan. This was when the evil sister of the evil King was burnt. The next day is the day when people play with colors and the next day is Dhuli in Sanskrit. This is when people come with colors and water balloons and play with the other people in the streets. This time of the year the whole country is so colorful. As the women prepare delicacies specifically made for Holi, the men get busy drinking Bhang which is intoxicating drinks.
Just like the festival, Holi Kama Dahanam is celebrated in some parts of the country on the fifth day after Poornima (full moon). This festival of color is known as Rangapanchami.