Holi is also known as the “Festival of colours”. People move out of their homes with coloured water to paint the face and clothes of every passer-by. The chanting of “Holi hai” can be heard everywhere. There is no ill will at all.
The social distinction between the rich and the poor, the educated and the illiterate, the high caste and the low caste, the fair and the dark, etc. all comes to an end. Holi festival is equally enjoyed by everyone.
It is also celebrated as a harvest festival in many parts of India, which naturally brings joy in the heart of the farmers.
People arrange for cultural ceremonies in the evening. At some places, they sing and dance for the whole night.
Holika Dahan refers to the ceremony of “the burning of the Holika”, practiced by the Hindus during the festival of Holi. It relates to the story of Holika and Bhakt Prahlad. Hiranyakashyap, the father of Bhakt Prahlad, was an evil king. Prahalad was a worshipper of God. Hiranyakashyap did not want Prahalad to worship God. He took the help of Holika, his sister. Holika had a boon that she would never be burnt under fire. She sat on a burning pyre and took Prahlad on her lap. She thought that Prahlad would be reduced to ashes. But, it happened otherwise. Bhakt Prahlad came out of the fire alive.
People still celebrate the ceremony of Holika Dahan with great pomp and gaiety. They collect wood blocks at a place and put it on fire.
On the next day, they play holi with bright colours. They use both watered colours and dry colours (gulal).
Men and women of all ages visit their friends and relatives. They share gifts and sweets. It is an occasion to forget the enmity and embrace each other. The cultural unity of India is superbly reflected in this festival.