Holi is a Hindu festival and is called the festival of colours. It is mainly observed in India, Nepal and the rest of southern Asia. Other than these, it is also celebrated in other parts of the world such as the United States, Mauritius, etc. The festival usually begins at 13th March on Falgun (full moon night).Holi is celebrated for 6 days.The first day is also called Chhoti Holi. People burn bone fires on this day. This is called ‘Holika'.
The word Holi derives from the word Holika who was a demoness and sister of the evil king called Hiranyakashipu. Long ago, he had been given a magical boon from Bramha, that a man nor an animal could not destroy him. He was so arrogant that he told people only to worship none other than him. But, his own son, Prahalada did not worship him but, a god named Vishnu. Vishnu always protected Prahalada from the evil plans of his father to kill him. One day he asked his sister to put on her magical cloak and make her nephew to sit on her lap. Then he asked her to sit on a pile of firewood. The magical cloak would help her survive and kill Prahalada. But, the cloak flew from her and enclosed Prahalada, burning his aunt. The next day God Vishnu took form of Narsimha and killed Hiranyakashipu near a pillar. People light bone fires to remember this story and burn pictures of Holika. The next day, people spray colours on each other. Old or young, poor or rich, tall or short, fat or thin how matter how they look or how they are, they all play Holi with each other even with passer-by. It is definitely not safe to go out with new clothes! The colours are made out of natural colours such as-
- Red – The flowers of Palash and Hibiscus are used to make red. Madder plant, Pomegranate, Radish and Ash are also used to make red.
- Orange- The lighter shade of red is used to make orange.
- Green- Mehndi can be used to make Green.
- Yellow – Turmeric can be made into yellow. Gram and Wheat can be added to get the proper shade.
- Blue- Indigo, Blue hibiscus and Jacaranda flowers can be made into blue
- Purple- Beetroot and grapes are used to make purple.
- Magenta- A lighter shade of purple can be made into Magenta.
- Brown-Dried tea leaves can be made into brown.
- Black- Vegetable carbon is used to make black.
In the evening, people dress up and go to their relatives’ houses. They also eat special sweets made on this festival.