Holi होली is a religious festival celebrated especially in Northern India by Hindus in the spring to mark the arrival of spring and new life and the end of gloomy winter. Farmers begin to plant their crops, the flowers begin to bloom, and people celebrate the new season of hope (for a good harvest) and happiness. There are also various religious legends associated with the holiday. Read here for The Legend of Prahalad and Holika. Typical food that is eaten is gujiya (a sweet puff), mathri (salty crackers) and papri (fried dough wafers).
But what truly makes this holiday unique and special is the exuberant singing, dancing, and throwing of scented powder and perfume at each other, with no distinction of caste, class, age, or gender. In fact, the playful flirting and competition between men and women has many people consider this a romantic festival.
Sanjeev Bhaskar from the BBC gets painted in India:
Photographer Steve McCurry on Holi (Incredible India CNN):
A lot of dancing by the Lakshmi Narayan Temple Youth Group, Sanatan Dharam Sabha:
A rambunctious crowd in Bikaner, India:
This last one is a presentation of stunning photos from Gujarat, India: