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Holi - HAPPY HOLI - March 24, 2016
The Holi, the festival of India, is celebrated on the day after the full moon in every year in March. In 2016 holi falls on March 24th. It is the festival of colours, a celebration of the triumph of good over evil, a community festival, and a tradition of ancient spring rites. Bonfires are lit, marking both the end of winter and the death of evil, and proceeds from the seasonal harvest-grains, coconuts etc - offered to the flames. Similar to New Year celebrations, now, Holi is also celebrated by sending greeting cards and Holi gifts to friends and relatives.
Apart from the usual fun with coloured powder and water, Holi is marked by vibrant processions, which are accompanied by folk songs, dances.

Literally "Holi" signifies "burning" in Indian language. It came to be associated with 'burning', is a story based on ancient Indian mythology. The story centers on an arrogant king Hiranyakashipu. He ordered all in his kingdom to worship him, instead of Lord Visnu.The king Hiranyakashipu, however, had a very young son, named Prahalad. He was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. Despite of his father's order Prahalad continued to pray to Vishnu. The king Hiranyakashipu attempts to kill his son many times but fails each time. Finally, the king's sister Holika who is said to be immune to fire and burning sits with the Prahalad in a huge fire. However, the prince Prahlada emerges unscathed, while his aunt Holika burns to death. Holi commemorates this event from mythology, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation.

“There are practically no religious observances on this day like fasting or worship. Generally a log of wood will be kept in a prominent public place on the Vasantapanchami day (Magha Sukla Panchami), almost 40 days before the Holi Festival. An image of Holika with child Prahlad in her lap is also kept on the log. Holika's image is made of combustible materials whereas Prahlad's image is made of non-combustible ones.

There are many stories about the origin of Holi.

Another story relate to the death of demon Putana at the hands of lord Krishna and to the burning of demoness Hoda by children. Some link the festival with the worship of Karma, God of pleasure and destiny.

Each area celebrates Holi differently; the Bhil tribesmen of western Madhya Pradesh, who've retained many of their pre-Hindu customs, celebrate holi in a unique way. In rural Maharashtra State, where the festival is known as Rangapanchami it is celebrated with dancing and singing. In the towns of Rajasthan — especially Jaisalmer — the music's great, and clouds of pink, green, and turquoise powder fill the air. The grounds of Jaisalmer's Mandir Palace are turned into chaos, with dances, folk songs, and colored-powder confusion.

The Rajasthani and north Indian population at Kankaria and Jamalpur in Ahmedabad celebrate Holi in great style with folk dancing and colour throwing.

The day is also celebrated as the birthday of Sri Krsna Chaitanya (A.D. 1486-1533), mostly in Bengal, as also in Puri (Orissa), Mathura and Vrndavan (in Uttar Pradesh).”
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