Holi or The Festivals of Color is a festival of spring celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal as well as other countries with large Indian populations, such as United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Fiji, Mauritius, Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad.
Holi Festival is also known as Dolyatra (Doul Jatra) or Basanta-Utsav (spring festival) in West Bengal and Orissa of India. Holi is celebrated with most anticipation in the Braj region, or locations connected to the god Krishna, which are Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana. Many of these become tourist destinations during the festive season, which can last up to 16 days.
Holi festival date is based on Hindu lunar calendar. It is annually celebrated at end of winter, on the last full moon day of Lunar month Phalguna. Holi Day usually falls in February or March.
There are many stories about the origins of Holi Festival. One is about the god of love, Kamadeva. The legend has it that Kamadeva shot his weapon at Shiva to help Parvati to marry Shiva by disrupting Shiva's meditation. Shiva, disrupted from his meditation, opened his third eye and cause a gaze of which was so powerful that Kamadeva's body was destroyed and reduced to ashes. For the sake of Rati, Kamadeva's wife, Shiva restored Kamadeva as a mental image, representing the true emotional and spiritual state of love.
The main highlight of Holi festival is joyous celebrations of going to the street in big groups, smearing each other with bright colored powders and water, without regard to social status such as caste, race, or sex. People exchange greetings, young people pay respect to the elders by sprinkling some colors on their feet, elders distribute money and sweets, and everyone join in the dance.
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