|Celebrations||Night before Holi: Holika Bonfire
On Holi: spray colours on others, dance, party; eat festival delicacies
|Begins||Phalgun Purnima or Pooranmashi (Full Moon)|
|2014 date||Monday, March 17|
|2015 date||Friday, March 6|
|2016 date||Wednesday, March 23|
Holi (English pronunciation: /ˈhoʊliː/) (Sanskrit: होली) is a spring festival also known as Phagu puni:, festival of colours, and sometimes festival of love. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities.
It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of majority Hindus or people of Indian origin. The festival has, in recent times, spread in parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic and colours.
Holi celebrations start with a Holika bonfire on the night before Holi where people gather, sing and dance. The next morning is free for all carnival of colours, where everyone plays, chases and colours each other with dry powder and coloured water, with some carrying water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for their water fight. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. Groups carry drums and musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance. People move and visit family, friends and foes, first play with colours on each other, laugh and chit-chat, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks. In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up, visit friends and family. It is a national holiday in Nepal and India.
Holi is celebrated at the approach of vernal equinox, on the Phalguna Purnima (Full Moon). The festival date varies every year, per the Hindu calendar, and typically comes in March, sometimes February in the Gregorian Calendar. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.