Holi is a religious festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. Holi is also known as festival of Colors.Holi is considered as second biggest festival on Hindu calendar after Diwali. Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed the way Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire.
The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi , where people smear each other with colours and drench each other. Rangwali Holi which is main Holi day is also known as Dhulandi or Dhulendi The other less popular pronunciations of Dhulandi are Dhuleti, Dhulheti.
Holi rituals in Braj regions – Mathura, Vrindavan, Gowardhan, Gokul, Nandagaon and Barsana – are the most famous one. The Lathmar Holi- the traditional Holi festivity in Barsana is world famous.In the Braj region of India, where the Hindu deity Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated until Rangpanchmi in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Krishna. The festivities officially usher in spring, with Holi celebrated as a festival of love.
The Holi festival has a cultural significance among various Hindu traditions of the Indian subcontinent. It is the festive day to end and rid oneself of past errors, to end conflicts by meeting others, a day to forget and forgive. People pay or forgive debts, as well as deal anew with those in their lives. Holi also marks the start of spring, for many the start of the new year, an occasion for people to enjoy the changing seasons and make new friends. People visit family, friends and foes to throw coloured powders on each other, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks.
The festival has many purposes; most prominently, it celebrates the beginning of Spring. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colours and saying farewell to winter. To many Hindus, Holi festivities mark the beginning of the new year as well as an occasion to reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and rid themselves of accumulated emotional impurities from the past.
Days before the festival people start gathering wood and combustible materials for the bonfire in parks, community centers, near temples and other open spaces. On top of the pyre is an effigy to signify Holika who tricked Prahalad into the fire. Inside homes, people stock up on pigments, food, party drinks and festive seasonal foods such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas and other regional delicacies.