Basanth Panchami Diwali Durga Puja Dussehra Ganesha Chaturthi Hanuman Jayanthi Holi
Krishna Janamashtami Makarasankranthi Nagapanchami Navarathri Rama Navami Shivrathri
Shivrathri Rama Navami Navarathri Nagapanchami Makarasankranthi Krishna Janamashtami
Holi Hanuman Jayanthi Ganesha Chaturthi Dussehra Durga Puja Diwali Basanth Panchami


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The colorful festival of Holi, literally 'burning', is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalguna and heralds the spring season. The word probably originated from a cry, shout or sound in singing. This festival is especially celebrated in Northern states, as a kind of Hindu Sutranalia or carnival and is very popular.
holi It commences about 10 days before the full moon of Phalgun (March), but is usually observed for the last three or four days terminating with the full moon.

Holi is the time when people from all castes and social strata come together forgetting all past differences and grievances. Originally the festival was primarily for the Shudras who were otherwise not allowed to participate in festivals. Today having lost its original significance, the festival is a favorite with most Indians for being the most colorful and joyous of all. Every year it succeeds in bridging the social gap, between employers and employees, men and women. People visit homes, distribute sweets and apply gulal on each other, signifying the colorful and happy spring times ahead. They greet each other, embracing three times. This is especially significant in the rural areas where in many places; there still exists a clear demarcation between each caste and community. And people of a high caste do not associate much with those of the lower.
In ancient India too, this festival was celebrated as a day when people forgot caste and gender differences and were allowed many liberties, otherwise forbidden. In fact Holi bears close resemblance to the important ancient festival called Vasantotsava. Holi is not celebrated in south India, but a similar festival in the honor of the god of love Kama, takes place there at the same time. While there does not seem to be a direct link between the two rituals, literary sources suggest that both occasions are examples of an age-old tradition of celebrating the arrival of spring.

Holi can also be termed a youth festival, as it provides an opportunity for young men and women to mingle freely and participate in dances and cultural programs in an otherwise conservative society. holiYoung men throw colored powder and colored water on women, using pichkaris. The origin of this custom can be found in the pranks of Krishna, who used to drench milkmaids in the village with water and play various other tricks on them. The singing of lewd songs, shouting and dancing, also marks Holi celebrations. Thandai, a drink made with almonds and milk, and cannabis pakoras is extremely popular on this day.

The day before Holi is Choti Holi or "small Holi". The main ritual on this day centers round a bonfire ceremoniously kindled at the time of the rising moon. This suggests that the festival is also a celebration of the barley harvest. People start collecting fire - wood, cow-dung and rubbish around a central pole in the locality many days in advance. On Choti Holi, they come together to light the fire. Men and women circumambulate the fire singing and dancing. A pot of new barley seeds is buried under the pyre for roasting. These seeds are eaten after the fire is extinguished. Divinations for the coming harvest are cast by interpreting the direction of the flames or by the state of the seeds in the buried pot. People sometimes take embers from the fire to their homes to rekindle their own domestic fires. The ashes from the Holi fire are also believed to provide protection against diseases.

As per the mythology, the Holi fire is regarded as a funeral pyre, for it is understood to have destroyed Holika, a demoness. According to a legend, Hiranyakshipu was a demon king. He wanted to avenge the death of his younger brother, who had been killed by Vishnu. He performed severe penance for many years to gain enough power to become the king of the three worlds. So intense was his penance that a smoke billowed from his head and the entire world was in danger of annihilation. Worried, the gods ran to Brahma for help.
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