Why Holi Is the ‘Festival of Colors’

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On Friday, Google unveiled a festive Google Doodle in honor of Holi, a Hindu festival that marks the end of winter. Also known as the “festival of colors,” Holi is primarily observed in South Asia but has spread across the world in celebration of love and the changing of the seasons.

What is Holi?

Rooted in Hindu mythology, Holi also celebrates the triumph of good over evil — symbolism that correlates with the passing of winter.

The Holi Festival’s history stems from the legend of a female demon and her brother, who believed was the ruler of the universe, according to CNN. His son, however, followed Vishnu, the protector of the universe, turning his back on the demon. The demon siblings plotted to kill the sun, but failed and died after Vishnu protected the son, who in turn became the king.

How is Holi celebrated?

Today’s Google Doodle provides a snapshot of Holi celebrations.

Amid vibrant bursts of color, a troupe of dhol players — a traditional wooden drum played in South Asia — dance around and splash each other with water and powder colored red, yellow, blue and green. The scene depicts the classic Holi traditions of family and friends coming together to laugh, dance, and feast.

Each color also carries a meaning. Red symbolizes love and fertility; yellow is the color of turmeric, a powder native to India and used as a natural remedy; blue represents the Hindu God Krishna; and green is for new beginnings.

When is Holi 2018?

Holi is a national holiday that usually occurs in March on the last full moon day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar month. This year, Holi falls on March 2.

Other things to know about Holi

While the celebration itself is based on a Hindu legend, the throwing of colored powder originates from a separate story. Krishna, who has blue skin, is in love with Radha. With Krishna unhappy with the difference in skin color, Krishna’s mother suggests he colors Radha with paint, leading to the colorful powder celebration.

In some areas the celebrations last longer than a day. In the Braj region of India, Holi is observed for up to 16 days, according to the Independent.

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