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Millions in India are celebrating Holi. Here’s what the Hindu festival of colors is all about.

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Richmond Hill, Queens celebrates 35th annual Holi festival


Richmond Hill, Queens celebrates 35th annual Holi festival

02:02

New Delhi — Millions of Indians in parts of the country’s north and central regions celebrated the Hindu festival of Holi on Monday.

The festival of colors, as it’s known as, marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring and is celebrated on the last full moon day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Falgun.

The celebrations primarily involve families and friends smearing powdered colors on each others’ faces and drenching each other in colored water, singing and dancing to drum beats at private parties and in public. In fact, it’s not rare for strangers to attack you on the streets with colored water.

INDIA-RELIGION-FESTIVAL
People take part in the celebrations to mark Holi, the Hindu spring festival of colors at Assi Ghat in Varanasi on March 25, 2024.

NIHARIKA KULKARNI/AFP via Getty Images


The origin of the festival is traced in Hindu mythology legends, one of which tells the story of a female demon, Holika, and her brother, King Hiranyakashipu.

The King Hiranyakashipu claimed to be a god but his son, Prahlada, refused to worship him. The king and his sister Holika — after which Holi is named — plotted to kill Prahlada and lured him onto a pyre to burn him to death. But miraculously, Prahlada survived and Holika was burned to death instead.

For this reason, the festival is also celebrated as the victory of good over evil. On the eve of Holi, some Hindus light up bonfires to signify the burning of Holika.

In a village in the western state of Gujarat, a huge bonfire of 200 tons of wood was lit on Sunday night.

Holika Dahan In Gandhinagar
Devotees are performing the largest ”Holika Dahan” as part of the Holi festival celebrations in a nearby village near Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, on March 24, 2024.

Saurabh Sirohiya/NurPhoto via Getty Images


Holi is a public holiday in India and one of the country’s most celebrated Hindu festivals, besides the festival of lights, Diwali. Huge celebrations were held in several parts of the country on Monday. The festival is also celebrated in Nepal, which has a significant Hindu population.

The celebrations even extend to cities around the world, including New York.

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