Holi, the festival of colours is one of the most important festivals in India. It is celebrated on March 1-2 this year. Holi is associated with the arrival of the spring season and marks the end of the winter season.The festival celebrated by Hindus every year is observed on the day of Purnima, the full moon, in the month of Falgun over two consecutive days — the first day is known as Chhoti Holi or Holika Dahan and the second as Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan.
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Various stories are associated with Holi, one of them is the tale of Prahalad and his father Hiranyakashyap. Prahalad was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu which his father did not like. He wanted him to give up his faith in Lord Vishnu, which Prahalad did not agree to. He thus tried to kill his own son. After several attempts, Hiranyakashyap made Prahalad sit on his sister’s lap Holika, who had a blessing that she will not be burnt by fire, and put them on fire. However, Prahalada’s devotion evoked Vishnu’s compassion and he saved the boy from the fire while Holika was burned to death.On the first day of the celebrations known as Holika Dahan puja, a bonfire is lit. People gather around the fire known as Chhoti Holi and perform ‘Pingpuja’ while praying for the longevity and prosperity of their loved ones. On the second day of celebrations known as Rangpanchami, people play with colours.One of the sweets that make up this festival is Gujiya, a khoya-filled fried dumpling. Apart from this people feast on Thandai, Gol Gappe, Dal Kachori, Paapri Chaat, Kachoris, Dahi Bhalle, Chhole Bhature, Kanji Vada and Namkeens.
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