Holi-also known as Phagu Purnima is the festival of colors. The festival falls on the full moon day of Hindu month-Phalgun which usually falls early March.
The festival has its root to the burning of "Holika"-the sister of the demon king-Hiranyakashyapu. The legend goes that Hiranyakashyapu's son Pralhad was pious to Lord Bishnu-the protector of the deities of the enemy camp. The demon king tried all means to stop Prahlad following Lord Bishnu, but always failed. Angry and frustrated, the king orders his men to take the life of his son but each time Lord Bishnu would protect him.
Then the demon king asks his sister-holika to kill Prahlad. Holika was blessed of being fire immune. So, she takes Prahlad in her lap and sits on fire. However, the prince Prahlad emerges unscathed, while his aunt burns to death. Holi commemorates this event from mythology, and huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi as its symbolic representation.
The festival begins on the night of the full moon. Symbolic funeral pyres of holika are created and burnt to cleanse the air of evil spirits and bad vibes, and to symbolize the destruction of the wicked spirit. The following morning, people come out in the street with bags of color powders, bucket of colored waters and water guns and chase their friends and relatives. They run, shout, giggle and splash and clouds of pink, green, and turquoise powder fill the air. In Terai parts of Nepal and India, group of people visit door to door singing holy songs and dancing. Government office, schools and business all remain closed and people fully immerse in the colors.
Although, the festival begins on the full moon night of the month Phalgun ( March-April), you can notice young kids start throwing water filled balloons quite a few days before the full moon.
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