Holi – the festival of colours, and expression of love, and of the ecstasy of consuming the intoxicant bhang for some! Known as the spring festival of India, Holi is an ancient Hindu festival that is quite popular among non-Hindus as well. Holi falls in the month of Phalgun and the festival is celebrated with lots of love, colour, food and friendship. Holi symbolises good over evil. (Read: Happy Holi 2015: Best Holi SMS, WhatsApp & Facebook Messages to send Happy Holi greetings!)

The celebration of this colourful festival begins with a Holika bonfire on the eve of Holi. The fire puja is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi. People gather around the Holika bonfire, pray and sing various songs. On the day of Holi, (March 5 this year) is day of celebration and people express love and friendship by splashing colour and water on each other. We often see children with dry powdered colour, or pichkari (water gun) chasing their friends on Holi. (Also Read: Holi 2015 Special: Bhang, Puran Poli –  Top 6 traditional delicacies to enhance your taste buds!)

Mythological Significance of Holi

The Holi legend takes us back to our childhood, where we heard about the demon king Hiranyakashyap or Hiranyakashipu. He was all powerful and had gained a boon of immortality, due to which he wanted everyone to worship him. But his own son Prahlada was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and did not worship his father. The wicked king wanted Prahlad to be killed and ordered his sister Holika to enter a blazing bonfire with Prahlada in her lap. Holika had a special cover to protect her from fire, so she could not be harmed. Luckily Lord Vishnu came to the rescue of Prahlada. Holika’s protection was destroyed and she was burnt in the fire, while the Lord himself killed King Hiranyakashyap.

Colors and language of love

Holi is celebrated with much fervor in Mathura where Radha and Krishna were born, also Benaras. People go crazy with bright colors, gulal, bhang and celebrate the day with enthusiasm. Holi is the best festival to express your love. There is a popular legend that Lord Krishna started this colorful and mischievous trend of playing with color by applying it on his beloved Radha.

Full-flavoured delicacies – Bhang and other dishes

One of the most loved traditional intoxicating drinks, bhang is used to lighten up the atmosphere of Holi. Bhang is prepared from the leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plant. It’s great fun watching people after they have consumed bhang, as they behave in an altogether different and funny manner. Warning: Consuming bhang is not bad, but taking extra doses may cause harm and spoil the fun of other, so be careful!

It’s time for a Holi party!

After playing with colours for the entire day, people prefer spending the rest of the evening meeting their family members, friends and relatives. It is often said that the Holi festival encourages a feeling of brotherhood

We wish the lovers of Holi, celebrate the festival to their fullest and let say together. Bura na mano, Holi hai! (Edited by Shweta Parande)