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Holi, the festival of colors

Posted on Tuesday, March 14th, 2006 at 8:30 am CET

Today is Holi, India’s festival of colors. It is a Hindu festival but is widely celebrated all across India by people of all faiths. The festival marks the beginning of spring time and usually takes place at the end of March or early April, on the full moon of Purnima, according to the Hindu calendar.

On the first day of Holi, today, bonfires are lit at night. Legend says this is to signify the burning of Holika, a mythological Hindu demoness was was killed on Holi, saving her brother Prahlad from their father King Hiranyakashipu.

On the second day of Holi, revelers spend the day throwing colored powders, buckets of colored water, and water balloons at each other. This ritual is where Holi gets its name “the festival of colors”.

Holi is above all a time to let go of social norms. Restrictions usually associated with sex, social status and even age are set aside during Holi, so women participate along with men, and people from different social classes play Holi together.

Other traditions of Holi include the drinking of Thandai, a sweet milk-based drink and Bhang, a milkshake made with marijuana.

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2:56 am
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