Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the “festival of colors” or the “festival of love”. It signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.
On the first day of celebrations, the eve of Holi, typically at or after sunset, people gather around the fire to sing and dance. The ritual symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Holi frolic and celebrations begin the morning after the bonfire. There is no tradition of holding a prayer, and the day is for partying and pure enjoyment. This is a carnival of colors, where people smear each other with colors and drench each other. Children and young people form groups armed with dry colors, colored solution, water balloons filled with colored water, and other creative means to color their targets. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Traditionally, washable natural plant-derived colors such as turmeric, neem, dhak, and kumkum are used.
In recent years the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colors. In 2017 the festival is celebrated on March 13.
Steven Gerner – Flickr: Holi / Festival of Colors 2013