You'd be hardpressed to find a holiday that embodies joy as purely as the Hindu festival of Holi. This spring tradition celebrates the triumph of good over evil—and it involves a delightfully messy explosion of vivid colors.
According to the Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India (SCI), Holi is a festival with ancient origins and is celebrated annually on Phalgun Purnima. (A little help: Phalgun is the eleventh month of the Hindu calendar, and Purnima means full moon.) It usually lands at the end of February or beginning of March, in Gregorian calendar speak. Today, Hindu people use Holi to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and as a general welcoming of spring. Basically, it's an all-around really happy, good time.
The rituals begin on Holi eve with the symbolic burning of a bonfire called Holika (the devil), which acts as a symbol of bad things ending and focus on good things to come. The meaning of the festival has changed over the years since its ancient origin, when it was exclusively performed by married women for the well-being of their families, according to SCI.
As you might have noticed, Holi celebrations are nothing short of Instagram-worthy. They don't call it the "festival of colors" for nothin'. Perhaps the most popular tradition during Holi is the throwing of vividly colored powder. Think of it like a big, beautiful water balloon fight—but instead of rubber balloons filled with liquid, it's handfuls of vibrant pigment thrown like baseballs. There are traditionally five colored powders (known as abeer or gulal) thrown on Holi: red (love and passion), yellow (happiness and healing), blue (serenity), green (new beginnings), and pink (femininity and joy). According to SCI, the colors as they're used throughout the celebrations "speak the language of the cheerful heart." Pro tip: Maybe avoid wearing your best clothes to a Holi celebration.