Holi, also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, Nepal,Bangladesh, and countries with large Hindu diaspora such as Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, the UK, Mauritius and Fiji. In West Bengal of India and Bangladesh it is known as Dolyatra (Doul Jatra) or Basanta-Utsab (“spring festival”). The most celebrated Holi is that of the Braj region, placed connected to Krishna – Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon and Barsana, places which have become tourist destinations during the festive season of Holi, which lasts here to up to sixteen days.
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (death of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad had when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam in Andhra Pradesh.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2009, Holi (Dhulandi) was on 11th March and Holika Dahan was on 10th March.
WHEN: Annually, March 1, 2010
WHERE: Nepal (throughout, concentrated in Khatmandu), India (throughout, concentrated in Jaipur)
This article is part of an ongoing series of posts highlighting significant festivals throughout the world, typically held during limited periods of time during the year. The series will identify and profile a select number of world festivals for nomination, ultimately selecting 15 worthy of the title “Top 15 Greatest World Festival”.