Today will see the streets of India become awash with a kaleidoscope of colours as people across the country celebrate Holi– one of India’s most vibrant and exuberant festivals. But how much do you know about this legendary festival that today is celebrated around the world?
Celebrated every year in February or March, the ancient Hindu festival of Holi originated as a celebration of the end of winter and beginning of spring in honour of Prahlada, who was protected from the flames by Vishnu when he was tricked to his near death by his father King Hiranyakashipu.
Today Holi is a time when Indians across the nation gather together with family, friends and neighbours to throw powder bombs, fire water pistols and splash coloured water as they run through the streets. Shops and businesses close down for the day, and on the eve of the celebrations a bonfire is held to remember the story of Prahlada and Vishnu.
While this is the mostly believed story, the myths and legends that surround Holi differ around the country, but the basic principle remains the same. Holi is meant to symbolise the triumph of good over evil, the importance of love and of happiness, and supports the formation of new friendships.
Holi is now celebrated in Indian and Western communities around the world, so you may be lucky enough to experience the colour of this joyous festival whether in India or even at home. Whatever your preference or the legend surrounding the festival, or where it is celebrated, there are some common trends – it is a time for happiness, outrageous fun, throwing of colour and to make new friends.
Journey to India next year and join the festivities of Holi yourself!