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More Details about Festival - Holi

Holi is known as the festival of colours. It is celebrated on the day of the full moon (Purnima) in early March every year. Holika purnima is also called Hutasani. It is the celebration of the arrival of Spring - the season of hope and new beginnings and marks the re-kindling of the spirit of life according to the Bhagvad Gita. Holi is a day to celebrate with friends and neighbors. People perform havan and offer to the gods the new grains that are harvested. The history of the origin of Holi goes back to Hindu mythology when Lord Krishna killed the demon "Madhu" in ancient Brij or modern Mathura in U.P.

The festival's preamble begins on the night of the full moon. Bonfires are lit on street corners to cleanse the air of evil spirits and bad vibes, and to symbolize the destruction of the wicked "Holika", for whom the festival was named.

On "Dhuleti" the following morning, the streets are filled with people dancing, splashing and throwing coloured powder and spraying coloured water with "pitchkaris" or water guns and even dousing each other with buckets of water. Kids especially like throwing water filled balloons at each other from atop buildings. Friends and neighbors go out in groups enjoying together. "Gulal" is the official name of the red colored powder, although all colors from orange, yellow, green, purple, blue to even metallic colors are now used. After an exhaustive morning, in the afternoon, the craziness comes to an end and everyone heads home to clean up and enjoy the holi sweets and savories.

Homes are thrown open to visitors to feast on the season's first crop of sweet mangoes. There are many special sweets prepared on the occasion of Holi. To name a few - condensed milk confections, and a variety of savory party foods like "samosas", "pakoras", kebabs and stuffed breads like "Puran Poli", "Gur poli", and "Sakharpoli". They render the taste of just harvested jaggery or sugar. In northern India, "Gujias" made with khoya and nut stuffing and sugar "Batashas" are shared by the community. In the South, different kinds of sweet rice are served and different varieties of fruit mixtures are offered to visitors. Also served in the South are cold beverages called sherbets. They also eat food laced with "bhang", an aphrodisiac that leaves one feeling light, happy, and reckless.

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