Holi popularly celebrated in India and Nepal is known as the festival of colours. It signifies the win of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winters. Holi lasts for two days starting on Purnima(Full moon day) in the month of Falgun which falls between the end of February and starting of March. The first day is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the second as Rangwali Holi. The celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika bonfire where everyone performs rituals and pray for the evil to get destroyed. The next day is celebrated as Rangwali Holi- a carnival of colours.
Some customary drinks such as those that include bhang (marijuana) are intoxicating. In the evening, after sobering up, people dress up and visit friends and family.
There are various legends behind the celebration of this festival. One of them is:
In the Braj region of India, where the Hindu deity Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated until Rangpanchmi in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Krishna. The festivities officially usher in spring, with Holi celebrated as a festival of love. There is a symbolic myth behind commemorating Krishna as well. As a baby, Krishna developed his characteristic dark blue skin colour because the she-demon Putana poisoned him with her breast milk. In his youth, Krishna despaired whether the fair-skinned Radha and other girls would like him because of his skin colour. His mother, tired of the desperation, asks him to approach Radha and colour her face in any colour he wanted. This he does, and Radha and Krishna became a couple. Ever since the playful colouring of Radha’s face has been commemorated as Holi Beyond India, these legends to explain the significance of Holi (Phagwah) are common in some the Caribbean and South American communities of Indian origin such as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. It is also celebrated with great fervour in Mauritius.