Holi is usually celebrated at the end of February and the beginning of March. It is known as ‘the festival of colours’. In certain parts of India Holi can last up to 16 days, but most people celebrate the last two days. On the eve of Holi bonfires are lit in commemoration of Holika, this day is called Hoika Dahan or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The day of Holi is full of colour with people throwing coloured powder and coloured water at each other. The festival of Holi has many legends attached to it, these include Holika & Prahlad, Kaamadeva, Dhundi, Rahda-Krishna and Pootana.
Traditionally Holi had a medicinal purpose – The spring season, during which the weather changes, is believed to cause viral fever and colds. The colours were traditionally made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilva, and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Āyurvedic doctors. The playful throwing of these natural coloured powders has a medicinal benefit to all involved, that’s why people of all ages will play Holi together.
Today Holi is played with synthetic colours and most people are blissfully unaware of it’s medicinal routes. On Holi day people all over India will play Holi out in the open streets with friends, family neighbours and even random passers by. It is considered inauspicious for anyone to get annoyed at colour being thrown at them.