Holi festival in India is one of the most inspiring, carefree, and beautiful festivals in the world. It is celebrated the day after the full moon each year in March. The festival honors the triumph of good over evil, accomplished by the burning and consequent destruction of Holika, the demoness, possible because of unrelenting devotion to Lord Vishnu the Hindu god of preservation. Lord Krishna, another Hindu god, is believed to be the one who named Holi the “Festival of Colors.” Lord Krishna is Lord Vishnu reincarnate. He enjoyed playing pranks and jokes on girls in the village by soaking them with water and dousing them in powdered colors. Holi festival commemorates the end of the winter season and the affluence of the approaching spring harvest.
All around India, Hindus celebrate Holi festival each year in March. Though the festival is celebrated virtually everywhere, there are some better places to see it than others. Though bigger doesn’t always mean better, in this case because of the colors used, the bigger the festival, the better the scenes it inspires. Choosing where to celebrate depends on the person and the experience sought. Activities during Holi range from customary rituals within temples to dance parties with DJs and colors flying all around. Traditional Holi is best celebrated in Vrindavan and Mathura while a more modern touch is evident in Delhi. Jaipur celebrates traditionally with elephants in tow while a rich cultural aspect is part of celebrations in West Begal’s Shantiniketan.
Celebrating the Holi festival is a delight for smearing colorful power onto others’ faces and in every hue and dousing people in colored water is nothing short of exciting and fun! The parties happening during Holi are legendary, the music mesmerizing, and the dancing amazing. Another major element to Holi is Bhang, a type of cannabis paste made from the plant that is consumed throughout the celebrations. The emphasis remains on burning Holika, the demoness. On Holi’s eve, huge bonfires are created to inaugurate the occasion and burn away evil spirits.
Top image: haithanh (flickr)