Holi is the festival of Spring, the festival of romance, the festival of the triumph of good over evil, a festival of colors and festival of fun and pranks. It is a festival to shake off the shackles of what is to be done and what is not to be done for once and loosen up a bit. It is a festival to let your hair down and do what you like, say what you like and meet and tease anybody you like. The best part is that all the offences and anger gets dissolved with one boisterous shout of 'Bura na mano, holi hai!' (Don't be angry, its Holi!) this shout is considered to be a part of the long tradition of the festival of Holi. The festival is celebrated on the full-moon day of Phalguna, though it stretched up to a week in Northern India and six-day long in Manipur. As the tradition goes all the people gather around on a day before the Holi as we know it, it is the evening of bonfires. People light up bonfires of dead leaves, twigs and sticks and people dance and sing around it to welcome the Spring and commemorate the saving of Prahlad and burning of his wicked aunt Holika. People take embers from this holy fire to rekindle their own domestic fires.
In some communities, people roast barley seeds in the fire to eat and
it is believed that the yield of the coming harvest season can be
predicted by reading the direction of the flames or the state of the
roasted seeds. The ashes of the Holi fire are believed to have some
medicinal properties. Next morning, it is 'Dhuledi' or the main festival
of colors where adults and kids alike splash each other with colored
powder and water jets known as 'pichkaris'. Traditionally, only natural
colors prepared from flowers and herbal products were used but today,
artificial colors have taken over. Now people often use colored foams
and balloons filled with colored water to pop-up at anybody they can
play prank upon. The color frenzy of oranges and reds, greens and blues,
purples and blacks soon wash away all the enmity and hatred amongst the
festival and serves to bring the community closer. Holi sweets and
delicacies are an important part of the festival as one can relish
'Gujhias' in Northern India and 'Puran Poli' in Maharashtra. 'Thandai'
(a cool drink of milk) mixed with 'bhang' (an intoxicating substance) is
to be beware of, as it is very common during Holi.