There was a mail on friday for holi celebrations in building on friday. Holi is on 17th march this year. The night before holi is a full moon night and it is called phagun poornima or doll poornima. A bonfire is made using dry sticks and dung cakes. This fire is made as a mark of respect for Prahlad who was a strong devotee of Lord Vishnu. It is the killing of holika, the demon, to protect Prahlad. A mark of victory of good over evil. Hence it is also called Holika Daahan.
This bonfire is generally done in the neighbourhood and so it is attended by all the people. As I saw the kids playing around, I was reminded of my school days. I have early memories of going to see it with my mother, much before I came to know its reason. The fire is bounded by small bricks. Ladies come with water, sweets and coconut and these used to be offered as a part of the prayer. One such plate is visible in the photo. For kids it marks the start of holi. Holi is a spring festival and so it is celebrated with colors. We already have the colors at home and the pichkaris(water guns) ready. On the day of holika daahan, we used to fill the pichkaris with plain water and start using it on our friends. We used to plan out the time when we would start playing with colors the next morning. Even today I saw a few kids playing and one of them even had an idea to dry up “I got wet while playing and then dried up in the heat of the bonfire”.
Although it was a bonfire, but it used to give everyone a reason to meet up and greet each other. Holi also was the last festival of the academic session and right after it, we used to start preparing for final exams. As I saw the bonfire today, I couldn’t help wishing for the carefree school days. Happy Holi to everyone.