Year after year, we wait for the one day when we can let go of all our worries and woes to enjoy. Family, friends, extended relatives, neighbours and strangers, everyone gathers together and smears each other in coloured powders. When all the dancing, singing and running around gets over, the after-party begins. And Holi is the only festival where the after-party is as happening as the main event because delicious food awaits you at the table. While all of this is known to us, here is exactly why we celebrate the festival.
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Holi is also known as the festival of colours or the festival of spring. Rangpanchami, as it’s popularly known, marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is celebrated for two days in most parts of the country. It starts on the evening of Purnima or the full moon in the month of March, according to the Gregorian calendar. The festival begins in the evening by preparing for the Holika, which involves gathering wood of all shapes and sizes. This wood is then piled up to make a pyre, which then, will be lit.
People gather around the pyre and perform a small pooja. As the sun goes down, people light it up and mark the beginning of Holi. This process is called Holika Dahan. It is also known as Chinna Holi or the burning of the demon called Holika, the sister of demon Hiranyakashyap. The idea behind this is to burn away our internal evils and sins. The pyre burns away through the night and brings in brighter sunlight. The next morning, people gather outside their houses or colonies to celebrate the festival of colours. This is also known as Dhuleti.
While most of us enjoy the coloured dyes of Holi, the ancient folks used natural elements like neem, vermillion, turmeric, saffron, sandalwood, hibiscus, pomegranate, etc. Apart from colours, food and the most special drink of the day, bhang, are equally important. Sweets or desserts of all kinds are made and gobbled with love and affection. As we inch closer to the day, we will keep your entertained with more such trivia.
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