Every year, the festival of color brings joy in a vibrant display in Hinduism's most cheerful celebration.
Holi is recognized the day after the last full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna, which is typically at the beginning of March. This year, the holiday fell on March 6, and with it millions across India and around the world took to the streets to spread joy and celebrate the beginning of spring.
Celebrators embrace a rainbow of colors as they throw paints, powders, and water in the air and on each other, making it one of the most vibrant celebrations in the world.
The holiday is significant to the Hindu religion, but it has also become a festival that embraces secular views to create an atmosphere of harmony. Holi has a foundation in traditional Hindu legends that focus on good overcoming evil.
“Celebration of the various legends associated with Holi reassure the people of the power of the truth as the moral of all these legends is the ultimate victory of good over evil. The legend of Hiranyakashyap and Prahlad also points to the fact that extreme devotion to god pays, as god always takes his true devotee in his shelter,” according to HoliFestival.org. “All these legends help the people to follow a good conduct in their lives and believe in the virtue of being truthful.”
Rich or poor, Holi welcomes everyone to the streets to celebrate. Even heads of state and celebrities join in the merriment. Union Defense Minister Manohar celebrated with his family in Panaji.
“Holi represents India: all the colors come together on this festival, just like they do in our nation,” Parrikar said.
In Pakistan, students surrounded Swami Narayan Temple in Karachi to provide a safe place for their Hindu peers to celebrate Holi. Hindus are the smallest minority group in Pakistan, making up only about 2 percent of its 180 million residents. In honor of their festival, they were celebrated and protected in a movement of solidarity and interfaith coexistence, capturing the true spirit of Holi.
“When we showed solidarity with Shias at the Imambargah, [they] joined us and stood alongside us so it’s only fair that as a group, we extend the same courtesy to all Hindus in Pakistan who face a lot of prosecution of different kinds," said Fawwad Hasan, General Secretary Karachi of the National Students Federation. “Society as a whole has to show change and be a part of that change. If you don’t stand up for someone else’s rights today, tomorrow you will also be targeted and there will be no one to stand up for your rights.”
Holi is a day to put aside differences, embrace new friends, and mend rifts in relationships that have developed throughout the year. It is a day of joy, fresh starts, and unity. It is a day to dance wildly and let yourself be free.
“Drenched in colors, everybody comes to resemble each other, losing their original self. This is the beauty of this festival,” the festival’s website states. “Its uniqueness lies in the fact that this festival treats everybody at par, all differences dissolve in the colored water that flows in plenty in it.”