Holi, the festival of colors, celebrates the coming of spring throughout India and the new harvest of the winter crop. It is celebrated over two days, Holi and Dhuleti, also known as chhoti holi and badi holi. Celebrations begin on the full moon night of the Hindu month of Phalgun, when large bonfires are lit to cleanse the air of evil spirits and to symbolize the destruction of Holika, for whom the festival is named. Newly harvested grains, coconuts, and sweets are thrown into the fire as offerings, followed by singing and dancing around the bonfire. When the fire dies down, water is splashed on the embers, and everyone applies the ash to their forehead. Some of the ash is kept in the home to apply to children's foreheads to protect them against evil throughout the year. The following day is the festival of colors, a riotous and exuberant celebration of throwing colored powder, or gulal, on friends and spraying them with colored water, playing games, folk dancing, singing, feasting, and general merrymaking.
Recognizing the Festival/Holiday: Hindus do not eat meat or drink alcoholic beverages. Most are strict vegetarians. "God bless you with prosperity and happiness" or "I wish you happiness and prosperity" are appropriate greetings for all Hindu holidays.