The religion of Hinduism has many festivals, with some celebrations that last for weeks on end. However, none of them come even close to Holi, India's most colorful and fun festival. Celebrated on the day following the full moon, this year's festival happens to be today, Saturday, March 19th.
As with most Hindu festivals, this one too has many different folklore attached to it. Most of it centers around the triumph of good over evil. The most popular one is about an arrogant king, who resents his son Prahlada for worshipping the preserver of all mankind - Lord Vishnu. When every attempt to stop him fails, his sister, Holika believed to be immune to fire, joins in the effort by inviting the young boy to sit with her inside a huge fire. Helped by the powers of Lord Vishnu, Prahlada escapes unscathed, while the evil Holika is burned to ashes. To commemorate this event, huge bonfires are lit the night before Holi in order to cleanse the air of evil spirits and to celebrate to the death of this demon.
In the North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh, the fun festival is attributed to the immortal love between the mischievous fun-loving god Krishna and his wife Radha. Therefore, the people of the town of Mathura, where he was born and Vrindavan, where he spent most of his life, celebrate it with great abandon - For a whopping sixteen days!
So what's so great about this day? While there are some fun processions and folk song and dance performances, the most fun of all is the ritual of taking to the streets and splashing people with water balloons, water guns and dry colors and even dousing them with entire buckets of colored water - On this day, everything and everybody is fair game, no matter how old or how young.
At about mid day, the mayhem comes to an end and people living close to oceans or rivers, usually take a dip in the water to cleanse off before trudging home to a delectable home-made feast and a well-deserved siesta, following this full day of fun and frolic.
Happy Holi To All of You!
Resources: IndianExpress.com, wikipedia.org