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Dhulandi Holi in March 2008

Holi, the Hindu festival marked by colors, fun and gaiety, falls on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun (February – March). Playing with Holi colors takes place on the next day. In 2008, the date of Holi Dhulandi is on March 22. Holika Dahan or lighting of bonfire is on March 21.

Holi is largely associated with Lord Krishna. It is said that Krishna in his childhood and teenage played Holi with his Gopas and Gopis.

Gulal made up of colors likes pink, magenta, red, yellow and green are an indispensable part of Holi. Tesu, or ‘flame of the forest,’ the flower of the Palash tree is another important material used in Holi. Dried Tesu flowers when mixed water creates a beautiful saffron-reddish color. It is said that Krishna played Holi with a pichkaris (a brass syringe which sprays water).

Holi celebrations begin on Rang Pashi, three days earlier to Holika Dahan. All family members gather at home; and gulal is sprinkled on all by the eldest family member. Women wear their special Holi dandia saris.

On the Purnima day is the Holika Dahan and bonfires are lit on this day. The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad had when Demon Holika carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu, escaped without any injuries.

The next day is Holi or Dhulandi or Parva. People visit each other’s home and play Holi with colors.

Another important even celebrated along with Holi is Bhai Dooj, which falls on the day after Holi.