Festivals of India, March 25th, 2024
illustration by Manish

Holi is a vibrant and colorful Hindu festival celebrated predominantly in India and Nepal, though its popularity has spread to many parts of the world. It usually takes place in March and marks the arrival of spring. People celebrate by throwing colored powders (gulal) and water at each other, signifying the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and the blossoming of love. It’s a time for joy, socializing, and forgiveness, where people come together regardless of social barriers. Traditional sweets and delicacies are also shared during the festivities.

Holika Dahan, also known as Chhoti Holi, is a significant ritual observed on the night before the main day of Holi. It involves the lighting of bonfires, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. The story behind Holika Dahan is rooted in Hindu mythology, particularly the legend of Prahlad and Holika. According to the legend, Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, was saved from the fire while his evil aunt Holika, who had tried to burn him, perished. The bonfires lit during Holika Dahan represent the burning of Holika and the triumph of virtue. People gather around the bonfires, sing and dance, and perform rituals to ward off evil spirits and seek blessings for prosperity and happiness.

Manish Pushkar Jha
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