Color me red, color me purple…

Holi is the festival of colors celebrated all over India on the day after the full moon in March each year. The emphasis of Holi rituals is on the burning of the demoness Holika from Indian mythology. On the eve of Holi, large bonfires are lit to mark the occasion. This is known as Holika Dahan.

The fire is a symbol of getting rid of bad things. We pray to the fire, walk around it three times and offer coconuts and various sweets to the fire. Holika Dahan is celebrated as a symbol of victory of good over evil. In our home, getting rid of bad habits like biting nails are also thrown into the fire.

The next day called Ranga Panchami is when people celebrate with family and friends by throwing color, water and having a good time. They listen to music, dance and drink “thandai” or spiced milk. “Bhaang” (thandai with cannibus) is also enjoyed by people. It is also a festival celebrating Lord Krishna. Some people celebrate with colorful flower petals instead of color.

In West Bengal and Orissa, there is a similar celebration called Dol Jatra. In Punjab they celebrate Hola Mohalla where men from the Sikh community display their physical strength. Manjal Kuli is celebrated in Kerala and Konkan coast by throwing turmeric on each other.

Enjoy the colors, music and thandai from the Culture box as you celebrate the festival of colors. “Happy Holi”.

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