One of the major festivals in India is Holi which is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun,which is the month of March as per the Gregorian calendar. Holi marks the arrival of spring, the end of winter & the beginning of summer. It is also the season of hope & joy.
On the eve of Holi, people gather & light small bonfires at crossroads. This lighting of bonfires is called as Holika dahan. Holika was the sister of demon King Hiranyakashyap. He wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship him but his own son ,Prahlad worshipped Lord Vishnu.An enraged Hiranyakashyap asked his sister Holika to kill Prahlad as Holika had a boon which made her immune to fire if entered alone. But Prahlad was saved as Lord Vishnu was pleased with the extreme devotion he had towards Him & Holika was burnt to ashes as she entered the fire with Prahlad. This signifies the victory of good over evil.People apply this ash on their forehead as this ash is believed to protect them from all evil.
There are many other stories ,too in connection with the festival of Holi.
Lord Krishna used to play Holi with His beloved Radha & all other gopis , & this ritual is still practised in the cities of Mathura , Vrindavan & Barsana, which are the places associated with the childhood of Lord Krishna & Radha.
The next day is the actual day of colours. Shops & offices remain closed & people have a blast pouring coloured water on each other.There are songs & dance & mouth watering delicacies served.
In the evening, people exchange greetings & sweets. People of all communities ,come together & there is a feeling of oneness in the air.
( I wanted to post photos …The photos are being uploaded but cannot be viewed after posting…So sorry, )