India

Holi Festival

 

 

 

 

 

Legend has it that the Holi festival has its origins in the mythological love story of Radha and Krishna in which Krishna, the Hindu god with dark blue skin, complained to his mother about Radha’s light complexion.  To cheer him up, his mother suggested he change the color of her skin by covering her with paint.  From this came the custom of smearing others with colors during Holi.

 

Taking place on the evening of the full moon, usually in early March, Holi is a national holiday.  The first night, known as Choti Holi, sees participants gather around a bonfire to celebrate the victory of good over evil, which includes prayers to destroy any evil inside them.  The next day colorful powders are thrown, mixed with water from water guns and water balloons so that the powder sticks to the skin.  Everyone can be covered in powder, regardless of age or social status. It also signifies the start of spring and the new colors that result. 

 

The colors of the powders represent different things.  Red indicates love and fertility, blue is the color of Krishna, yellow represents turmeric, and green indicates spring and new beginnings.  In addition to throwing the powders, celebrants light bonfires, dance to traditional folk music, and eat a special sweet made in every household during Holi called gujiya.  The customary drink during the festival is thandai, which usually contains marijuana.  After partying and spraying colors during the day, people bathe, sober up and visit their relatives and friends.

 

 

 





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