Holi or the festival of colors is considered the second largest festival in India after Diwali- the festival of light, and the holidays last two days - Choti Holi or Holika Dahan and Dhulandi or Rangwali Holi.
The festival falls in the Hindu calendar month of Phalgun, which usually falls between February and March. This year, Holi falls on March 18, and Holika Dahan falls on the evening of March 17.
Like Diwali, the victory of good over evil is celebrated.
The Holi Festival is celebrated to pay homage to the coming of spring. It is a festival of joy, of love, of friendship, of passion, in which people manifest their joy of the coming of bright and lively spring after the long and gloomy winter.
These days there is a lot of dancing and singing. People play with colors, water, flowers and anoint each other with Gulal. They visit their friends, relatives, and also enjoy traditional delicacies such as gujiya, thandai and many others. Gujiya is a delicate dessert made from milk, nuts and a love powder (which increases the sweetness). It is a popular food that is served on the occasion of this holiday, along with the traditional drink "bhang".
With little by little they go out into the street to splash each other with paint or throw balloons of colored water from balconies on people walking through the streets.
It is a celebration that brings unity between the oameni, which regardless of age, caste or color, are sprinkled with colors or colored water . A popular saying during this holiday is
"Bura na mano, Holi hai!",
"Don't get upset, it's Holi!".
In the era of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Holi was called "Aab-e-Pashi", which means "
rain of colors".
In some parts of India the festivities begin in the evening, on the first day of the festival, known as Holika Dahan or Choti Holi by lighting large wood fires. This is an important custom associated with this celebration.
Holi is celebrated throughout India, with each region having its own traditions. Holidays in northern India are more colorful, more vivid, more exuberant, while those in the south focus mainly on religious and temple rituals. There are many differences even between the Northern states in terms of duration and customs.
Holi is also celebrated in other South Asian countries such as Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but also in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and there are various stories about its origin.
The most popular legend in Hindu mythology says that the festival marks the triumph of Lord Vishnu over King Hiranyakashyapu, who killed anyone who disobeyed them or worshiped other gods.
The king had a son named Prahlad, who never worshiped his father and instead worshiped Vishnu. Hiranyakashyapu was so dissatisfied that he conspired with his sister Holika to kill his son.
Holika agreed to kill her nephew, luring Prahlad into a pyre and trying to burn him. However, Vishnu came to Prahlad's aid and Holika ended up burning at the stake.
To this day, Hindu devotees celebrate Holika Dahan on the eve of Holi to mark the event by making campfires in their neighborhoods.
Another story related to throwing colored powders on top of each other is the love story of Krishna and Radha. Krishna was poisoned in childhood by a demon and turned blue. He fell in love with Radha and was worried that Radha would reject him because of the color of his skin. Krishna's mother suggested that she playfully color Radhea's face with a few colors. He did that, and Radha fell in love with him.