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HOLI FESTIVAL OF COLORS

Holi, the 'Festival of Colors' is celebrated in India to welcome the season of spring and end of winters. It is a two-day long festival celebrated with lot of gaiety all over India but special mention should be made of Holi of Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. On the eve of Holi, people gather to light a huge bonfire of the dried leaves and twigs. On the morning of the festival, people meet each other to apply dry and wet colors each other, play with water and eat sweets together.

According to Hindu mythology, the roots of the festival of Holi can be traced to the story of Hiranya Kashipu. He was the demon king in the ancient times who had got a boon from Lord Shiva that nobody could kill him. After being granted the boon, he considered himself to be equivalent to God and insisted that his subjects should worship him rather than the Gods. His son Prahlad, a strong devout of Lord Vishnu objected him. This angered Hiranya Kashipu and he tried to kill Prahlad many times but the child always came out unhurt. One day, Hiranya Kashipu decided to set fire to Prahlad who was seated in Holika's lap, Hiranya Kashipu's sister. Although Holika had the boon that the fire cannot burn her, she was the one who died in the fire and Prahlad was not hurt at all. Thus, Holi is celebrated as the victory of good over evil.

The arrival of spring sees blooming of various flowering plants, which provides a natural color to the entire environment. The festival of Holi adds a little more color and fervor in the life of the people and the locales. People, dressed in new pure white clothes, are happy to meet their relatives, neighbors and friends to share the joy of Holi with them. They rub dry colors called gulal on each other's face, throw colored water at each other and make merry. Eating of traditional Indian sweets like gujjia and dancing and singing programs add more zeal to the festive mood. A special drink made of the intoxicant; bhang (favorite drink of Lord Shiva) mixed with water is prepared for the festival. The celebrations begin early in the morning and continues till afternoon when every body.

Although the festival of Holi is celebrated with same enthusiasm all over India, the Holi celebration of Mathura is famous and special. In Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Holi is celebrated with special pooja and traditional custom of worshipping Lord Krishna followed by usual celebrations. Pilgrims, ascetics, religious leaders and tourists from all over India and abroad come to Mathura to participate in the Holi celebration


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