Holi- The Festival of Colors

Holi Date 2014

Holi/ Holika Dahan- Sunday 16 March

Dhulandi/ Rangwali Holi- Monday 17 March

Holi, the festival of colors in India, is perhaps one of the most enjoyable festival celebrated in this world. It is also one of the major religious Hindu festival. Holi is celebrated on the day of Purnima in the month of Falgun that corresponds with the months of February-March of English calender. Purnima is the full moon day and carries great significance in the Hindu lunar calender.

Holi Festival

Holi Celebrations in India

Holi celebrations in India have two aspects- religious aspect and the aspect of fun. Two consecutive days are devoted for each of these aspects of Holi. The first of these two days of Holi is referred to as ‘Chhoti Holi,’ which is in fact the eve of colorful Holi festival day. It is also called ‘Holika Dahan’. The second day is called ‘Dhulandi’ or ‘Rangwali Holi’. It is the actual day which is characterized by colors when people celebrate Holi by throwing and rubbing dry and wet colors on each other.

Holika Dahan- Eve of Colorful Holi

The religious traditions and rituals of Holi are observed on the eve of the Holi day.

Holi Dahan Picture

On the eve of Holi festival, the local Hindu communities gather at one place and lit a bonfire. This is called ‘Holika Dahan’ related to the legend of Holika and Prahlad. People offer various materials like wheat, gram and oats etc. to the Holi fire. Some of the scholars are of the opinion that Holikotsav (Holika + Utsav = Holikotsava) is named after parched grains known as ‘Holka’ in Sanskrit.

Holi Festival of Colors

Dhulandi- Fun with Colours on Holi Day

On the second day of Holi festival known as ‘Dhulandi’, people forget all their restraints and give full meaning to this festival of colours. They bring home holi colors- dry as well as wet colors. They play with each other using these Holi colors and their enthusiasm, energy and fun loving personalities are the things to see and experience. It can’t be described in words! The dry holi color called ‘Gulal’ or ‘Abir’ is thrown on each other while the wet colors which originally come in dry form, are mixed with water and rubbed on each other. People afraid of the chemicals mixed in colours or those with sensitive skins make natural Holi colours at home but they can’t resist playing with colours!

Holi Food- Sweets Thandai

Holi Foods and Drinks Traditions

Holi DrinksAs far as celebration with food and drinks is concerned, Holi is again a fun filled festival when ‘bhaang’ and ‘thandai’ are drunk. Both of these are special drinks had by people during holi celebrations. These drinks are prepared with natural ingredients. Thandai is a cool drink that is healthy too but Bhang is an intoxicating drink made with leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plant. For thandai, poppy seeds, dry fruits, rose petals, black pepper, sugar etc. are used. For bhang, the leaves of female cannabis plant along with milk, almonds, ginger, rosewater, sugar etc. are used. After having the refreshing drink Thandai, people who are tired by playing with colors whole day long, get energy. On the other hand, the intoxicant bhang is traditionally had for experiencing full fun. Holi sweets like ‘gujhiya,’ ‘puran poli’ etc. and holi chaat (snacks) like ‘kanji ke vade,’ ‘shaahi toast’ too are relished by people on holi day.

Holi Cards and SMS Greetings- Modern Ways to Celebrate Holi

Apart from the Holi rituals and traditional holi colors, sweets, drinks etc. there are modern ways too for celebrating Holi. These are in form of Holi cards, greetings and Holi SMS wishes that people send to their friends and relatives staying away from them.

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