This weekend is one of the biggest festivals here in India, maybe the biggest one, Holi. You have maybe seen it in movies or adds for India. This is the festival where people are throwing colored powder on each other. It is also common to throw balloons filled with colored water around. Some of my colleagues have warned me against walking close to high buildings, as it suddenly might come some water filled balloons down. Many of my elder colleagues say that they stay inside the whole day, in order to avoid any eventual issues this day.
The preparation for Holi is not that easy to spot everywhere, but you can see shops selling water guns, and a lot of them! Close to where I live, there is one particular shop that sells different things depending on what time of the year it is. This is where I bought my candles for Diwali and also the Christmas tree at that time. Now the same shop is filled with water guns!
As any Hindu festival, Holi is some kind of a mix between fun and religious. For Holi, the main religious day is actually the day before the color festival. At that evening, bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when the female demon Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. This day is known as the Holika Dahan, which means the burning of Holika.
What day Holi is varies from year to year. It is decided by the Lunar calendar. This year the Holika Dahan will be at the 19th of March, while the color festival Holi (Dhulandi) will be at the 20th. So it should all happen over the weekend.
I will keep you updated after the weekend on how Holi has been here in Mumbai.
Talk to you soon!