Holi Festival - March
Holi in Mauritius comes close on the heels of Shivaratri. First and foremost it celebrates the beginning of spring. Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colours and saying farewell to winter. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating events present in Hindu mythology. Although it is the least religious holiday, it is probably one of the most exhilarating ones in existence. During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw coloured powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.
On the eve of Holi, a bonfire known as ‘Holika dahan’ (burning of Holika) is kindled and an effigy of Holika, made of bamboo and straw, is formally carried in a procession to the bonfire accompanied by local singers and musicians. The figure is placed on top of the pyre and set on fire.
Holi has a social significance as a great leveler In a class-ridden society it helps break down the walls of prejudice between man and his likes. The sprinkling of ‘gulal’ (coloured powder) symbolizes the renewal of love and brotherhood. In Mauritius it is celebrated by nearly by everyone. People of other communities accepted, with toleration this day, to be sprinkled with colours.
photo acknowledgement: the telegraph.co.uk
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