Festival of colors: Hindus celebrating Holi

MUMBAI: Holi, the Hindu festival of color, is being celebrated hilariouslyacross the country, on Tuesday.

Revelers have assembled in small groups in their neighborhoods and some descended on the road, smearing colored powders and throwing water-filled balloons at one another since early today.

Celebrated by, more ore less, all communities, Holi begins on the eighth day of the new moon and ends with the burning of the “Chir´, which was installed earlier, on the full moon day. The government has announced a public holiday today in the hilly region to celebrate this joyous occasion.

The festival revolves around mythology of the demon king Hiranya Kashyapu ordering his sister Holi ka to sit on a fire with Pralhad, son of the demon king and a devout follower of Lord Bishnu, in her lap so that Pralhad would stop chanting the name of the Lord.

The catch was that Holika wouldn´t burn in the fire because of a boon she had received from god. But it so happened that Holi ka was burned in fire while Pralhad remained unharmed and came out of the fire chanting the name of god.

From then onwards, the festival has been celebrated by smearing colour in delight. Elders believe that any premonitions can be avoided if “Tika” made from the ashes of the ´Chir´ is put on one´s forehead or kept in the house.

Revelry in the form of pelting pedestrians with water-filled balloons from the upper windows of houses usually marks the festival.