lord Krishna’s play with the gopikas, who were cow-herding girls, using herbally enhanced coloured water, also known as festival of colours. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular even with non-Hindu communities in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities.
It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of Hindus or people of Indian origin. The festival has, in recent times, spread in parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic and colours.
Holi celebrations start with a Holika bonfire on the eve of Holi where people gather, sing and dance. The following morning is free for all carnival of colours, where everyone plays, chases and colours each other with dry powder and coloured water, with some carrying water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for their water fight. 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. Groups carry drums and musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People move and visit family, friends and foes, first play with colours on each other, laugh and chit-chat, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. Bhang, made from cannabis, milk and various spices, is considered the “special drink” of Holi. In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up, visit friends and family. It is a Gazetted holiday in India.
Holi is celebrated at the approach of vernal equinox,on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March, sometimes February in the Gregorian Calendar. The festival 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 ruptured relationships.