Guest Author - Preena Deepak
The Indian festival of colors, Holi falls on March or April of each year and marks the end of winter and onset of spring. The date of the festival is determined by the Hindu calendar and differs year after year. Holi is one fun-for-all Indian festival that attracts even non Hindus to participate in the merriment of the day.
Mathura and Vrindavan are two hot spots in the North where Holi celebrations last for more than a week. In the past North Indian States alone celebrated Holi with pomp and elaborate preparations. However, this colorful festival has lured in the rest of India too and now Holi is celebrated throughout the country.
There are several legends in Hindu mythology about Holi festival which has been celebrated over several years. Some believe the festival is observed to welcome spring and enjoy the fertility of the soil while others celebrate Holi as the triumph of good over evil.
On the eve of Holi, people in several parts of the country light up bonfires to mark the celebration. The following day is one that starts early with people of all ages and social status engaging in merriment by throwing gulal (colored powder) on each other. It is also a custom to make buckets of rang (colored water) to be sprayed on all. Younger folk often play with gulal and rang on the roads, sometimes inviting even passersby to participate in the fun.
In the excitement and commotion caused by hurling colors, Indians break all cultural barriers and celebrate as one happy mob. Holi is probably the only festival with absolutely no bars and no other Indian festival unites people as much as Holi does.
Sure enough rituals and customary practices are also observed on this day and there is much difference in these traditions across states and communities. Rural communities often have dance and cultural programs to celebrate Holi festival while their urban counterparts send messages, greetings and gifts to each other.
A whole lot of special food is prepared as part of the festivities, the most sought after being thnadai an Indian drink and gujiya, a sweet samosa.
Most parts of North India declare a public holiday to celebrate Holi. Though not a holiday, Southerners too celebrate the festival and indulge in flinging colors on one and all. Holi celebrations are also organized in schools, colleges and other institutions.
On the whole, this colorful festival is another interesting aspect of Indian Culture with its own traditions, legends, food, fun and frolic.
Here is a book to help you learn more about Holi festival.
Buy We Love Holi from Flipkart.com
Why not buy some gulal and start celebrating Holi? Here's a link to buy colorful gulal!
Buy Gulal For Holi Celebration from Amazon.com