India celebrates festival of colors heralding spring’s arrival

New Delhi, Mar 8 (EFE).- India celebrated Wednesday the popular Hindu festival of Holi which marks the beginning of spring.

“Holi is indeed the festival of colors. It celebrates people’s differences and yet their togetherness,” said Atul Shastri, a priest at a Hindu temple in Gwalior city, located in central India.

During this popular festival, discrimination based on race, caste and place of birth, otherwise common in the Asian country, is set aside, and people throw water and “gulal” at each other.

These traditional colored powders have different meanings.

“Pink represents love, red represents fertility, and green represents spring,” Shastri explained.

It is difficult to avoid the festivity as people not only put “gulal” on their friends and family, but also on strangers.

Music is also part of the festival from early in the morning, when it is customary for groups of drummers to gather to remind everyone of the start of the holiday, followed by dancing and singing for the rest of the day.

Many also consume traditional sweets and the “bhang”, a mixture of marijuana and milk that is drunk in the form of a milkshake.

Holi serves to mark the beginning of spring with the first full moon in March, and there are several legends associated with it.

One of the most common stories about its origin revolves around the Hindu god Krishna and his immortal love, Radha.

It is believed that Krishna applied color on Radha’s face to darken it since she was fairer than him.

According to Hindu mythology, this holiday also commemorates the burning of Holika, a demoness who being immune to fire tried to kill her nephew, Prahlad, by sitting on a pyre with him on the orders of her evil brother, King Hiranyakashipu, but ultimately ended up getting burnt to death while Prahlad was left unscathed.

As a result, large pyres are lit in many parts of India on the eve of the festival to symbolize the triumph of good over evil. EFE


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