I am still working on my vacation blog posts but I had to pop in and give an update today.
OK so India probably has more holidays than China, USA and Europe combined… it seems like every week there is another holiday… Some are public (government) holidays which the entire country celebrates and these are plentiful. But in addition to that there are Bank Holidays, Religious holidays (Most of the religions found across the world are practiced in India), family holidays?
Today is a Public Holiday… today is HOLI Day. It is one of their HUGE Hindu holidays and it celebrates the end of winter (such as it is) and the beginning of Spring… it is also a time when caste, social and gender barriers are lowered and everyone celebrates with everyone else… because these strictures are lifted it is seen as a very playful and happy festival…
One of the traditions of the day is that people throw colored powder, perfume or colored water on each other (i’m staying FAR away from the throwing horde *EEK*)
Here is a WIKI Explanation
(Holi (Hindi: होली), is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus. Holi is also known as festival of Colours. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal,  and countries with large Indic diaspora populations following Hinduism, such as Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa,Trinidad, United Kingdom, United States, Mauritius, and Fiji. It is also known as Doḷajāta (Oriya: ଦୋଳଯାତ) in Orissa and Dol Jatra (Bengali: দোলযাত্রা) or Basantotsav (“spring festival”) (Bengali: বসন্তোৎসব) in West Bengal. The most celebrated Holi is in the Braj region, in locations connected to the Lord Krishna: Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana. These places have become tourist destinations during the festive season of Holi.
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, also Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing scented powder and perfume at each other. Bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). After doing holika dahan prayers are said and praise is offered. The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam in South India.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2009, Holi (Dhulandi) was on March 11 and Holika Dahan was on March 10. In 2010, Holi was on March 1 and Holika Dahan was on February 28. In 2011, Holi was on March 20 and Holika Dahan was on March 19.
In most areas, Holi lasts about two days. One of Holi’s biggest customs is the loosening strictness of social structures, which normally include age, sex, status, and caste. Holi closes the wide gaps between social classes and brings Hindus together. Together, the rich and poor, women and men, enjoy each other’s presence on this joyous day. Additionally, Holi lowers the strictness of social norms. No one expects polite behavior; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement and joy.
Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the festival Holi. Waiting for the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna, or early March, These men and women are ready to spread the joy. Holi has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating many events that are present in Hindu mythology. Although it is the least religious holiday, it is probably one of the most exhilarating ones in existence. During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw colored powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.
Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. In addition to celebrating the coming of spring, Holi has even greater purposes. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colors and saying farewell to winter. Furthermore, Holi celebrates many religious myths and legends.)
Here is a short vid so you can hear the sounds I awakened to this morning… As you can hear from my dialogue I had not yet researched the meaning of the holiday or it’s traditions… Happy say I am now informed!! 🙂
OK I am off to experience the day first hand… As I go around I will take pictures and videos if I can and I’ll come back and post an update…
Until then Happy HOLI Day!!!