HINDUS AROUND the world and here in Mauritius are today celebrating Holi, also called the Festival of Colours. It is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and countries with large Hindu diaspora populations, such as Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, UK, US, Mauritius, and Fiji.
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and coloured water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi).
The bonfires are lit to celebrate the miraculous escape of young Prahlad when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burned but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion.
Holi is celebrated on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March.