HOLI - THE FESTIVAL OF COLOURS
Perhaps the most visually spectacular of the Hindu festivals celebrated in Goa, Holi is the festival of fun and playing with colours which people throw on each other.
Holi is celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of March. Holi signifies the end of winter and the beginning of the spring.
It is a joyous celebration of the rejuvenation of nature, and renewed hope of happiness and peaceful coexistence.
Holi is known as the festival of colors, and the colors overcome the barriers of language and convey true feelings. The colors also convey a message. Green: Compassion and understanding and a symbol of prosperity. Yellow: Optimism. It is also regarded as an auspicious color. The color Yellow is associated with Mother Earth. Red: The color of fire, the source of energy and security. Blue: Loyalty and trust. Pink: Love and compassion.
In some places in Goa, the night before the full moon, people gather to light bonfires to burn the dried leaves and twigs. The fire signifies the destruction of evil - the burning of the 'Holika' - a mythological character.
On the next day, people of all ages come outside and playfully drench each other with coloured water. Brightly coloured powders are applied on faces, and there is plenty of music, dance and sweets.
Young and the old smear colours on friends and dear ones. Water balloons, dry colours, and washable dyes are used to douse just about anyone in sight on the roads on the day of Holi. The vibrant use of colours symbolises the advent of a colourful and prosperous spring season.
According to Hindu mythological legends, the festival is also a celebration of the death of Pootna - the demon who nearly killed Lord Krishna when he was a small child. Pootna signifies winter and darkness.
Holi is celebrated by people from all castes and social strata in Goa. The celebrations start in the morning, recede around afternoon when people get tired of the fun and frolic. Noise and the clamor recedes, there is a contented silence all around, occasionally disturbed by the laughter of the teenagers. In the evening, once again people visit the neighborhood with families and friends to greet them with good wishes.