Of all the festivals that are celebrated in India, Holi is the most colorful and vibrant. It celebrates the coming of spring and the death of demoness Holika. It is a festival of joy and hope and is celebrated with great vigor and cheer. It is a time to forget animosities and join hands with people of all communities. Bonfires are lit the night before Holi to banish the cold dark nights of winter and welcome the spring. Bonfires are also symbolic as they signify the death of evil and the triumph of all that is good in this world.
The city turns into a riot of color as people of all walks of life come out of their homes to throw color on each other. Whilst the elder people settle for the more safe dry powder colors called 'gulal', the young at heart go for the more robust water colors that can be thrown upon unsuspecting people from afar. Water colors are also filled into small balloons that serve as little missiles which seem harmless at sight but can cause the attacked to gasp in surprise as one lands neatly on them. 'Pichkaris' or plastic pumps are also popularly used to squirt colored water on each other. Some people don't have the patience for these little niceties and simply upturn a bucket full of colored water upon a startled friend!
No celebration is complete without feasting and dance and Holi is no exception. Large processions of revelers beating drums and dancing alongside can be seen all over the city. Often it is impossible to recognize one's friends this day as they are smeared with colors which camouflages them completely. Laddu is a popular sweet eaten this day as is 'bhaang', a drink with varying levels of intoxication which when drunk serves to increase the enjoyment of the festivities.