Full Moon day of Phalgun month of our Indian Hindu Calendar is observed as ‘Holi Parv’, by the Hindus, in India. This festival has utmost importance in northern and eastern part of India. In Vrindavan, Lord Krishna played Holi with ShriRadhika and His sixteen thousand Gopikas (Braj Balas) on this auspicious tithi to colour their lives in different shades of loving colours, bringing change into their day to day chores of monotonous life and to showcase His eternal love towards Shrimati RadhaRani.
On the other hand, it is also considered as the official beginning of spring season, giving people respite from the biting cold and chilling wind. It is at this time of the year that flowers start blooming everywhere in the nature to bring colourful views, naturally. Birds and bees and butterflies come out of their winter hidings and start hovering around.
This festival is also known as ‘Vasantotsav’ in some part of India, which denotes the welcoming of the King of seasons, RituRaaj Vasant. In Shantiniketan, West Bengal, this festival is observed with much zeal and enthusiasm among students of VishwaBharati VishwaVidyalaya, the educational institution constituted by Gurudeb RabindraNath Tagore. This festival has its own charm among children and elderly people also.
Kids find it joyous to fill small balloons with different coloured water and throw them towards people around and passerby people on road to enjoy the spread the colour of love and harmony around. Throwing coloured water using small canons is also very common among people in India. Other than spreading coloured water on people, dry powder with fragrance and different colour is also thrown to people, especially in the evening to play dry ‘Holi’.
Younger people apply this powder, namely “Gulaal” on the feet of elderly persons and seek their blessings to enjoy the best fruits of life without any interruption. One day before this festival, on the evening of Chaturdashi tithi, people gather waste materials and wood stocks to burn them at an open space signifying the burning of evil powers and invite the auspiciousness in life. This ritual is called as ‘Holika Dahan’ and it is an inevitable part of Holi festival in India.
Offering specially made sweets is another part of this festivity. ‘Gujia’ is a special sweets item that people make at home also to mark this festival of colour remarkable and leave a sweet taste in the mouth of their near and dear ones. This tithi has another significant importance among the followers of ‘Vaishnav Sampradaay’. Founder of this sect, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born on this tithi, more that 530 years ago in 1486 A.D. He was a devoted devotee of Lord Krishna and was a spiritual leader having large numbers of followers all over the world now.