Holi Festival 2017 - Festival of Colors USA

Holi Festival 2016 - Festival of Colors USAHoli is a spring festival in Nepal and India, also known as the festival of colours or the festival of sharing love. Holi is a two day festival which starts on the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Bikram Sambat Hindu Calendar month of Falgun which falls somewhere between end of February and Mid of March in the Gregorian Calendar. The first day is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi while the second day is known as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan. फागुपूर्णिमा

It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of Hindus or people of Indian origin and Nepalese diaspora. In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colours. Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika bonfire where people gather, sing, dance and party. The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi - a free-for-all carnival of colours, where participants play, chase and colour each other with dry powder and coloured water, with some carrying water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for their water fight.

Holi Festival 2016 - Festival of Colors USAAnyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and other musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People visit family, friends and foes to throw colour powders on each other, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. Some drinks are intoxicating. For example, Bhang, an intoxicating ingredient made from cannabis leaves, is mixed into drinks and sweets and consumed by many. फागुपूर्णिमा

In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up and visit friends and family. Holi is celebrated at the approach of the vernal equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March, sometimes February in the Gregorian Calendar. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships, and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. In India, Holi announces the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. The festival breathes an atmosphere of social merriment. People bury their hatchets with a warm embrace and throw their worries to the wind. Every nook and corner presents a colorful sight. Young and old alike are covered with colors (red, green, yellow, blue, black and silver). People in small groups are seen singing, dancing and throwing colors on each other. Though liquid colors are used in India (where it’s warm) we prohibit them, as we don’t want anyone to catch cold on account of the festival. Dry is better for photographs as well.

Holi Festival 2016 - Festival of Colors USAModern Adaptation - Holi has long traditional links with several legends. According to one popular legend, the word Holi is derived from the demoness, Holika. She was the sister of Hiranya Kashipu (the name meaning love of gold and a soft bed), a demon king, who having defeated the gods, proclaimed his supremacy over everyone else in the Universe. Enraged over his son’s ardent devotion to Lord Vishnu, Hiranya Kashipu decides to punish him. He takes the help of his sister, Holika, who is immune to any damage from fire. Holika carries the small boy Prahlad into the fire but a divine intervention destroys her and saves Prahlad from getting burned. फागुपूर्णिमा

Thus Holi is celebrated to mark the burning of the evil Holika. Her effigy is consumed in the fire! Holi is celebrated with special importance in the North of India. It solemnizes the love of Radha and Krishna. The spraying of colored powders recalls the love sport of Lord Krishna and His devotees. The color, noise and entertainment that accompanies the celebration of Holi bears witness to a feeling of oneness and sense of brotherhood. The festival brings home the lesson of spiritual and social harmony!!


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