India celebrates Holi festival with traditional coloured powders
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Holi is a vibrant Hindu festival, known as the Spring Festival, Festival of Colours and Festival of Love. The festival commemorates the beginning of spring and is synonymous with plumes of brightly coloured paint powder which are used in celebrations across the world.
When is Holi?
Each year Holi falls on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun – the 12th month of the year in the Indian calendar.
This year, Holi will be celebrated on Sunday, March 28 until Monday, March 29.
The festival celebrates the eternal and divine love of Radha and Krishna.
Read More: Holi EXPLAINED: History behind Holi – why is it celebrated?
Holi also signifies the triumph of good over evil.
According to legend, the demon king Hiranyakashipu demanded he should be worshipped as a god instead of Lord Vishnu.
Hiranyakashipu could not be killed by any man or animal and so had let his confidence overwhelm him.
Despite his demands, Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlada stayed devoted to Lord Vishnu, which angered Hiranyakashipu.
Alongside his sister Holika, Hiranyakashipu set out to kill Prahlada, and Holika tricked Prahlad into sitting in a huge bonfire.
She had a shawl to protect her from the flames, which she used leaving Prahlad to be burnt to death.
However, Holika’s shawl instead left her and covered Prahlad, saving him and burning Holika to death.
Today Holi celebrations begin with the burning of Holika, known as Holika Dahan.
How is Holi celebrated?
Celebrations may feel very different this year due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
Typically celebrations begin the night before in a ceremony knows as Holika Dahan – or Little Holi.
For Little Holi families meet to sing, dance and light bonfires.
Then for Holi itself, celebrators gather on the streets with music and dancing.
Brightly coloured paint powder is thrown over crowds, with participants often wearing white clothes to pick up as much paint as possible.
Each colour paint represents something different.
- Yellow for knowledge
- Blue for determination
- Green for happiness
- Red for sensuality
During the festival, often water is thrown, live street music can be heard and traditional food and drink is enjoyed by all.
After a day of dancing and brightly coloured paint throwing, clean clothes are donned and the evening spent with families, often sharing food.
Currently, restrictions are in place in some states across India due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Check with your local government to see the restrictions near you.
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