Brilliant clouds of colored powder puff up into the air and slowly disappear as they reach higher into the atmosphere.
Beautifully color-stained people dance below. The energy can almost be seen. This is Holi, an annual festival celebrating the coming of spring. It is commonly known as the “Festival of Colors” and is celebrated on the final full moon of the lunar month Phalguna, usually falling in March. You might recognize Holi from photos of brightly colored powder being thrown into the air or onto people; the festival usually spans over two days, beginning on the night of the full moon with gatherings and public bonfires. It continues into the following day with public festivities that feature music, tossing of flowers, and the popular throwing of colored chalk and liquids, and more.
Though Holi commemorates a mythological tale of Hiranyakashipu and his son Prahlada, the festival was largely developed as an agricultural holiday to recognize and cheer the changing of seasons. The Festival of Colors encourages a bond across social division and is a celebration for all people, regardless of race, gender, age, or wealth.
As is the case with many Hindu festivals, the observation of Holi varies from region to region with some festivals lasting longer than two days. If you missed out on the Festival of Colors this year but want to partake next year, mark your calendars: It’s set for March 23 & 24, 2016!
+ Did you attend Festival of Colors this year? Tell us about it in the comments!
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