Holi (Hindu countries, March 2, 2018)
Holi is a spring Hindu festival celebrated in all Hindu countries, especially India and Nepal. Holi is also known as the festival of colors or the festival of love. It signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and end of winter and for many a day to meet others, play, laugh, forgive and forget and to repair broken relationships. It also can serve as a thanksgiving in order to ensure a good harvest. Holi lasts one day and one night, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon Day in the Hindu calendar). (For those of us in the West it falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March; it does not fall on an annual date every year, so check the date before you book a trip.) The first evening of Holi is known as the Holika Dahan and the following day is Holi, Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Phagwah. Holi is gaining popularity with non-Hindus in many parts of southern Asia, parts of Europe and North America.
On Holika Dahan, a bonfire is lit and people gather, performing religious rituals and pray for their eternal evil to be destroyed. The next morning a free-for-all festival of color begins. People smear each other with colors, drenching each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons can also be used. Anyone and everyone is fair game. Holi takes place everywhere: in open streets, parks, outside all temples and buildings. If you’re outside, expect to end up with dye on you. Groups carry drums and instruments, going from place to place singing and dancing. The day finishes by visiting family and friends to laugh, gossip and share Holi delicacies, food and drink.