World ? Asia ? India


Holi Festival. Destination India

Destination India
11 Mar 2009 (annual)
During Holi, Holika Dahan, or the festival of colour, Hindus celebrate good harvests and the Earth's fertility by taking to the streets and smearing everyone with coloured powders and water. It's lots of fun, but watch out - no-one is exempt!
Huge bonfires are made on the eve of the festival (one explanation being that they drive out Dhunda, a female demon, from participating villages), while the actual day is marked by loud processions, singing, dancing, traditional songs - and a whole lot more.

The celebrations pay tribute to Hindu god Krishna, and are associated with his love for Radha. The young Krishna would moan to his mother about why Radha was so fair and he was so dark. His mother advised him to apply colour on Radha's face and see how her complexion would change. The celebrations still explore this idea.

If you're a visitor to the Holi celebrations, it's probably a good idea to take some old clothes with you. It's likely you'll get smeared with colourful powders(gulal) and coloured water - an interesting development on the theme of smearing gulal on friends' foreheads.

While the aim of Holi is apparently to develop an increased appreciation of beauty and cultivate good taste, people get away with almost anything on this day - including squirting coloured water on passers-by...
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