The two-day Holi festival does much more than bathe India in colour – it spreads hope around the world, writes Alicia Remedios.

Holi is one of the most significant festivals for Hindus and is celebrated by people of different faiths in India. Growing up as a non-Hindu in India, I learned that the festival had a deep religious importance to my Hindu friends and their families.

Holi signifies triumph of good over evil and marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring and new life.

Traditionally, a bonfire is lit the night before Holi to start the festivities.

These continue the next day and involve tossing fistfuls of coloured powder and buckets of water at one another, gorging on delicious food and dancing to drums and traditional music.

For me, Holi has always symbolised the spirit of unity in diversity, the strengthening of friendships and the sheer joy and glee it brought to my childhood.

I have vivid memories of the morning of Holi and filling up water balloons with my friends, prepping our pichkaris (water guns) and making sure we had sufficient coloured powder to throw in the air and at each other.

I especially enjoyed the delicious malpuas (fluffy pancakes served as a snack or dessert) my close Bengali friend’s mum would make.

The day ended with a hearty meal shared with neighbourhood children and their families and some much-needed rest after a long day of fun!

Holi will be observed March 17-18.

Alicia is a Training and Review Officer with Centacare Foster Care.

Picture: Bartosz Hadyniak