Chapter

• Holi

John Stratton Hawley and Vasudha Narayanan

in The Life of Hinduism

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780520249134
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940079 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520249134.003.0008
• Holi

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This chapter examines Holi, the spring festival described as “the feast of love,” and celebrated when the moon is full. With Divali, the chaos is carefully ritualized. At Holi, by contrast, all hell breaks loose. The discussion describes what it feels like to reenact the dissolution of order in this way. With Holi, the clamor of fire-walking, burning the demoness Holika deep in the night, and the dousing of passersby with brightly colored water and a lot else the following morning is followed by a complete reversal of mood at noon. People don their whitest clothes and reconstitute society by visiting one another with a sense of peace and decorum that is unrivaled at any other time of year.

Keywords: spring festival; Holi; feast of love; Divali; fire-walking; Holika

Chapter.  6241 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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