Today was Holi, the festival of color. We were away last year and missed out on it so this was our first Holi. And, what fun!
Holi is a Hindu festival. Here are some things I have read about the origins of Holi:
According to legend, the name Holi comes from Holika, sister of the kind Hiranyakashipu. The king demanded people to worship him. His son, Prahlad, refused to worship him and worshipped Vishnu instead. The king asked Holika to kill his son. Possessing the power to walk through fire, she picked up Prahlad and took him to the fire. But, Prahlad's devotion to Vishnu saved him and Holika was killed by the fire.
Another related legend says that Holi is signifies the end of winter. There was a ritual of burning wood and leaves on the full moon night to celebrate the coming of spring. Old wood and leaves that had fallen were burnt to signify that it is time for new leaves and flowers. Later, people smeared their bodies with ash.
And, another legend says that Holi celebrates the immortal love of Lord Krishna and Radha. Young Krishna complained to his mother about Radha being fair while he was so dark. His mother told him to put color on Radha's face to change her complexion.
So, to celebrate Holi, people buy colored powder to throw and then spray with water. It's fun and enjoyed by everyone. In our neighborhood we heard, music, laughter and people shouting with joy. We stayed in our garden with some friends and threw color and water until we turned various shades of pinkish orange. The kids absolutely loved it and, as adults, we felt like kids again.