Festivals and celebrations form an integral part of the country of India which is often known as the “The Land of Festivals”. The variety of festivals held in various parts of the country at different times throughout the year depicts its rich cultural heritage. There are festivals for every religion and region held during different times of the year. Every state of the country has their own festivals during which all people take part in the rejoicings irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and age.
Holi – “the Festival of Colors” is probably one of the most important festivals celebrated all over the country and even in other part of the world, where Hindu societies exist. Although this Hindu festival, people of all regions are seems to be engrossed in the celebrations. The festival symbolizes Love, togetherness, unity and brotherhood among the people all over the nation. It transcends the barriers of creed, communities, caste and age. The exact dates of the festival are decided by the Hindu Lunar calendar, but approximately it takes place in the end of the month of February or early March on the full moon day known as “Phalgum Purnima”. Holi especially marks the colourful and vibrant features of the spring season and it marks the oncoming of the springs.
The festival owes its origin to several different myths and legends across the different parts of the country. The ritual of making bonfires on the previous night of the main event of Holi depicts the burning of Asura Holika, who was the sister of King Hiranyakasipu. The celebration marks the victory of the good over the evil, light over darkness and the victory of truth. Several rituals are performed in different parts of the country during the festival, although the central idea remains the same.
Colors form the most important part of the festival of Holi. People smear themselves and others with powdered colours knon as “Abeer” or “Gulal”. Colored waters are sprayed on each other’s with Pichkaris and balloons. Although synthetic colors are being used today, natural colors are believed go bring out the actual essence of the festival. Aged persons bless the younger ones and their loved ones by rubbing pink Abeer on their foreheads and the younger ones show respect toward their loved ones by smearing Abeer on their feet. In Vrindavan and Mathura, which is the birth place of Lord Krishna, the festival of colors is celebrated for 16 long days in memory of the divine love between Radha and Krishna.