Despite the chilly weather, today is a deeply vernal day which marks the end of winter and welcomes the joy of spring. Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the Holi Festival of Colours. Holi is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus around the world and it has a twofold purpose. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colours and saying farewell to winter. In fact, originally it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating events present in Hindu mythology.
Although it is a religious holiday, Holi is probably one of the most exhilarating ones in existence. It is worth mentioning that Holi is a day when social norms cease to be so strict. As a result, men and women get together, people from different social classes enjoy each other’s presence and the atmosphere is filled with excitement, fun and joy.
In most areas, Holi lasts about two days. The main day is celebrated by people throwing scented powder and perfume at each other. On the first day of this festival, Hindus participate in a public bonfire. Prior to the event, men prepare for this by collecting extra wood. The fire itself is lit near midnight, as the moon rises. The main custom of Holi is the use of the coloured powders and water on others. This is why Holi is given the name “Festival of Colours.”
Over the years, Holi has become an important festival in many regions wherever Indian diaspora had found its roots, be it in Africa, North America, Europe or closer to home in South Asia. Even in my hometown in Greece, people held a much similar event last year, although probably lacking the religious dimension of the custom. In effect, numerous celebrations will take place all around the UK today, so you better be on alert. Don’t forget your goggles and your happy mode on 🙂