HOLI:

       
Holi is one of the four most popular festivals observed  by all without any distinction of caste, creed, status or sex. It is observed on the full moon night of Phalguna. It marks the end of winter and the advent of  spring season. It is a two-day festival. On the first night, a bonefire is lighted in the evening or at night, and people circumambulates it which is known as pradakshina. Children make merry, womenfolk sing gay songs and men also sing phag to the accompaniment of cymbals and drums. In this fun-filled atmosphere people  play practical jokes on one another.

        The next day, people amuse themselves by splashing coloured water and throwing coloured powder on their friends, relatives, neighbours and even passers-by. Noisy and colourful processions are taken out through the bazaars and streets. Amongst refined people it is characterized by songs, music, floral decoration and splashing of perfumed water. Sweets and visits are exchanged and cold drinks prepared at home, are served liberally. People forget all enmity and embrace each other, with warmth and love, and renew their friendship. On this day people bake and eat new corn for the first time in the season.

        There are several myths about the origin of the festival of Holi. According to one puranic myth, there was a great demon Hiranyakasipu. He conquered all the three worlds and made the gods serve him. He forbade practice of piety and worship of god, and instead declared himself the god. People were made to worship him at the point of sword. But his son Prahlad, a mere child, a noble and great soul, was a great devotee of Vishnu and always chanted his name and sang his glories. It infuriated his demon father and he ordered : “Let this evil child be killed.”

        To kill Prahlad several fatal measures were adopted, but none of them succeeded. At last a big was lighted and prahlad was made to sit in her aunt Holika’s lap and she then jumped into the fire. Holika claimed immunity from the fire, but by the grace of god, prahald came out of the fire alive and unscathed but his aunt was consumed by fire. The burning of holi Commemorates this event. It symbolized the triumph of good over evil.