Holi is a festival of colours celebrated in spring season. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival and also sometimes called as festival of love.
It is primarily celebrated in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world primarily among the people of Indian origin. The festival is also celebrated in parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic and colours. The festival is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March).
The festival has a religious purpose also, symbolically signified by the legend of Holika. One night before Holi, Holika bonfires are lit which is known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika). People gather near fires, dance and sing songs of this festival. On the next day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, or Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated. The celebration starts the carnival of colours, where everyone plays, chases and colours each other with dry powder color and coloured water. Some people carry water guns and coloured water-filled balloons and throw at others and color them. Children and youth spray coloured water solutions (Gulal) at each other while elders smear dry coloured powder (Abir) on each other's face. Visitors to homes are first teased with colours, then served with Holi delicacies, desserts and drinks.
The festival also signifies the arrival of spring with the end of winter. For many people it brings a time to meet others and forget and forgive the animosity and repair the ruptured relationships by ending the conflicts and accumulated emotional impurities from the past.
Like Holika Dahan, Kama Dahanam is celebrated in some parts of India. The festival of colours in these parts is called Rangapanchami, and occurs on fifth day after Panchami (full moon).