Holi celebrates the coming of spring and the triumph of good over evil. It is also a day to fix broken relationships and forgive people. It is always held in March on the day of full moon.
The Hindu holiday has become popular with non-Hindus and is celebrated in Europe and North America, as well as India and Nepal. In non-Hindu countries it is considered a celebration of spring, colors and play.
The celebration starts a day before with a Holika bonfire. On the day of the Festival, celebrants splash colors on each other or otherwise play with them. There is lots of singing, dancing, and throwing paint in the air.
Holi is also a celebration of the god Krishna, and it is associated with the legend of Prahlad and Holika. As per the best-known story, the arrogant demon King Hiranyakashyap wanted everybody to worship him. His son Prahlad refused to do so, as he was a follower of the god Vishnu. Angered, Hiranyakashyap ordered his sister Holika to kill Prahlad. Holika was fireproof, so Hiranyakashyap told her to walk through a raging fire with Prahlad. Something went wrong, though, and Holika was burned alive while Prahlad came out unscathed.
In some parts of India, people burn effigies of Holika on bonfires, and the ashes from the fires are believed to bring good luck.
Another story holds that Krishna was a mischievous as a child and liked to throw colored water on milkmaids. This story inspired the colorful aspects of the Festival.
The day after Holi, people put on good clothes and visit friends and relatives. They also exchange sweets.