The festival of colours observed in India where everyone rejoices equally is none other than Holi. On this day, people forget their normal day to day life, and play with vibrant colours, adding life and happiness to their own as well as other's lives. Holi marks the advent of Spring after a harsh winter. It is celebrated on the full moon night of the month of Phalgun as per the Indian Calendars.
In 2019, Holi would start on 20th March and end on 21st March. The Purnima (full moon) tithi begins from 10:44 AM on 20th March and ends at 7:12 PM on 21st March. The detailed timings for different events of the Holi festival including the Holika Dahan date and time are given below:
Holika Dahan Muhurta :8:57 PM to 12:28 AM
Bhadra Punchha:5:23 PM to 6:24 PM
Bhadra Mukha:6:24 PM to 8:07 PM
It is not only celebrated by playing with colours, but people also make awesome dishes, especially sweets. And 'Bhaang' is the famous drink for this occasion which after drinking, makes people enjoy the festival even more. The whole essence of Holi marks the air with vibrancy and joy. The roads are filled with colour and so are the people. It is one of the festivals, that is celebrated with the sole purpose of having fun.
It is said that Lord Krishna when he was young went to his mother and asked, why was he dusky while his lover Radha remained fair skinned. His mother, Yasodha Maa, in return asked him to go to Radha and apply colour on her so that there wouldn't be any more colour contrast between them. This was followed and from then, the festival of applying colours on each other began as Holi.
Holi begins by observing Holika Dahan. The story behind Holika Dahan is another interesting one.
According to the Puranas, the king of demons, Hiranyakashyap (the king of the demons) saw that his son Prahlad became a devotee of Lord Vishnu. This angered him a lot. As a means of punishment for his son, he asked Holika, his sister to sit on fire with his son in her lap. Supposedly, Holika was blessed that she wouldn't be harmed by fire. But the events that occurred were quite the opposite. Holika was burnt to ashes while Prahlad emerged out unharmed. So, while remembering this day, Holika Dahan is observed. The best muhurant for Holika Dahan would be during the Pradosh time of Poornima.
It is commonly observed nowadays by burning of an effigy that marks the destruction of evil and preservation of goodness.
After that, people celebrate Holi by applying colours on others, sometimes gulal is used, and sometimes gulal mixed with water are either poured down from a bucket or sprayed using a water gun.
Holi is celebrated for wishing a good and prosperous life ahead. Like any Hindu festival, it has great significance in the way of life. Marking the beginning of spring after winter is like a promise for a better fruitful year ahead.