IntroductionHoli (होली), is a religious spring festival celebratedby Hindus to remember the burning of Holika. Itis also known as Festival of Colours. It isprimarily observed in India, Nepal, Pakistan, andcountries with large populationsfollowing Hinduism, suchas Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa,Trinidad, United Kingdom, UnitedStates, Mauritius, and Fiji.
Back Into the past…. The legend of King Hiranyakashipu is one of the explanations Hindus look back to. He condemned his son, Prahlada, from worshipping the god Vishnu. However, he continued to pray to him. Filled with anger, the King made a challenge to his son. He was to sit on a pyre along with his aunt Holika, believed to be unharmed by fire. The son accepted the challenge, praying to Vishnu to protect him. As the fire began, Holika was burnt to a crisp but Prahlada lived and was unharmed. This burning of Holika is the reason why Holi exists.
Customs The earliest reference to the celebration of Holi is in the 7th century drama, Ratnavali. On the first day of this festival, Hindus participate in a public bonfire lighted as the moon rises. The main custom of Holi is the smearing of colored powder on each other, and throwing colored and scented water at each other. This is why Holi is given the name “Festival of Colors.”