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Holi is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in India. Known as the festival of colors, it has gained popularity in several other parts of the world. It celebrates love and friendships and marks the arrival of the spring season.
As per popular Indian mythology, there was once an evil king called Hiranyakashipu, who wanted to be worshiped like a god. To his great dismay, his son Prahalad became a devotee of his arch-enemy, Lord Vishnu, instead. Jealous of his devotion to Vishnu, Hiranyakashipu asked Holika, his sister, to step into fire with Prahalad since she possessed a shawl that protected her from fire. A strong breeze blew the shawl away from Holika’s body and wrapped it around Prahalad. Prahalad was saved due to his steadfast devotion to Lord Vishnu. At the same time, Holika died in the fire, thereby starting a tradition of Holika Dahan. Other legends believe that this day celebrates the eternal love between Lord Krishna and Radha, who played with colors, making it a fun-loving festival of colors.
According to Hindu calendar, Holi is celebrated in the month of Phalgun on the full moon day. A day before Holi, Holika Dahan rituals are carried out by making a huge community bonfire. A typical Holi is celebrated by playing with several dry vibrant colors called Gulal and sprinkling colored water. Children also love to throw water balloons at each other. People travel in groups and play drums and musical instruments, singing songs dedicated to Holi. Later in the day, people visit their family and friends and exchange sweets like Gujiya, Puran Poli, Malpua, and Thandai.
Holi is celebrated throughout India and countries with a sizeable Indian population, but the celebration holds special significance in the Braj region around Mathura in India, where the festivities can last for a week. In Barsana village, the birthplace of Radha, people celebrate Latthmaar Holi, where men arrive with shields and women thrash their shields playfully.
Holi is a festival to celebrate love, make new friends, end conflicts, and forgive people who have hurt us. It brings fun, joy, and a high spirit to our lives.