Holi ‘The festival of colours’ is one of India’s most popular festivals. It is celebrated on ‘Phalgun purnima’, the full moon day of the lunar month of Phalgun, which fall around the calendar months February-March. It marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and celebrates the harvest of the year’s toil. This year 2012, Holi was celebrated on March 08, 2012.
The ‘Holi’ is the festival of Hindus and like most festivals it has religious connotations, commemorating events in Hindu mythology. For instance the burning of bonfire on the eve of the festival is known as the “Holika Dahan” which is associated with the burning of Holika, the sister of demon King Hiranyakashipu. The Hindu mythology has it that the young prince Prahlad, son of King Hiranyakashipu, was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. When he refused to shift his devotion to his father, the most powerful demon King of that time, the latter ordered that the young Prince be killed as a lesson to all and tasked his sister, demoness Holika, to carry out his bidding. When she carried young prince Prahlad to the fire to be burnt alive, the Prince was miraculously untouched by the fire while Holika was burnt to ashes. His unflinching devotion had saved the prince from any harm.
Today, however, the festival has less of the religious fervor and celebrates the human bonds rather than for any religious commemoration. Almost all, men, women and children of all ages, young and old, even across religious divides, celebrate the festival smearing each other with colours of all hues, splashing coloured water on one another and in doing so, renewing the human bonds of friendship, amity and affection. A festival worth celebrating indeed.
A few candid moments caught in my lens.