March 20 is Holi. Heralding the beginning of Spring, it is a joyous festival of colours.
Blue, green, yellow, red, orange...yes colours! And that brings to mind Holi! Besides all the different hues you will see lined up in the markets there's just one phrase that you will hear. “Holi Hai!”
A spring festival, it is celebrated a day after the full moon all over the country though it may be with different names.
This year Holi falls on March 20. The day before holi is celebrated as Holika Dhyan. According to legend, Hiranyakashipu's son Prahalda, who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu against the wishes of his father. Hiranyakashipu asked his sister for help and she sat on a pyre with Prahalada on her lap. In a fire that was supposed to take Prahalad's life it was Holika who lost hers. Year after year people collect all the waste and pile it up the day before. A bonfire is lit, symbolising the end of negativity and evil.
The next day is a play of colours as people gather, and apply colours on one another. Amidst all activity the typical Holi delicacies such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas and thandai are prepared to add to the celebrations.
Almost all of India celebrates Holi. though it is best celebrated at Mathura and Vrindavan.
Lathmaar Holi: Women at Barsana make the men of Nandgaon dress in female attire — all this in the spirit of Holi.
Dulandi Holi: The best part of Holi in Maharashtra and Gujarat is the tradition of breaking the pot.
A pot of buttermilk is hung high and men form a human pyramid as the one on the top breaks it with his head. Basant Utsav: In Bengal especially at the Vishwa Bharti University, the students decorate the campus with intricate rangolis.
Hola Mohalla: During this festival all the Sikhs display their physical strength and military prowess as they gather at Anandpur Sahib a day after Holi.