The Iranian government has announced that public and private institutions across the country will be closed for two days from Wednesday to mitigate the impact of an unprecedented heat wave on public health.
Holi is around the corner. It is one of the much-awaited festivals in India. Celebrated on the day of Purnima (the full moon) in the month of Falgun, Holi is one of the most important festivals for Hindus. The festival of colours heralds spring and is celebrated over two consecutive days. On the first day, people observe Chhoti Holi which is marked by Holika Dahan. The second day is known by different names — Rangwali Holi, Phagwah, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan etc. This year, Holi will be celebrated on March 9 and 10. Holika Dahan is on Monday, 9 March 2020, followed by Holi on Tuesday, 10 March.
History and significance of Holi
Holi is a two-day festival. On the day of Chhoti Holi, a large bonfire is lit for Holika Dahan. People gather around the fire and perform a puja while praying for long life and prosperity of their loved ones.
The legend is associated with demon king Hiranyakashyap, also known as Hiranyakashipu, who wanted to be immortal. He wanted everyone to worship him as God. His son Prahlada, however, was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and this offended him. Once he asked his sister, Holika, who had a divine shawl that could not catch fire, to sit on raging flames with Prahlad in her lap. But Lord Vishnu, impressed by Prahlad’s devotion, killed Holika and saved the boy.
The next day, people play Holi with colours. It is believed Lord Krishna celebrated the festival with colours in Vrindavan and Gokul. Holi rituals are famous in Braj regions — Mathura, Vrindavan, Gowardhan, Gokul, Nandagaon and Barsana. People from across the world come to watch the Lathmar Holi or Barsane ki Holi.
At some places, people form a human pyramid and break a pot full of buttermilk hung at a considerable height.