Holi is the festival of springtime; the time of year when color is celebrated. Holi also celebrates Krishna's 'leela' or play with Raadhaa, his consort. His play with Raadhaa is part of the Holi ritual through the flirtatious nature of Holi activities. Krishna was in love with his childhood friend Radha, but complained his skin was so dark compared to her beautiful light complexion. His mother smeared Radha’s face with bold colors and now Holi is the time of year when young men and women of India “play color”.
During Holi, many taboos are lifted and people throw colored powder or water on each other to celebrate. The largest celebrations take place in Vrindivan, India, where Lord Krishu spent his childhood. During the festival, fires are lit to commemorate the survival of young Prahlad whose father, Hiranyakashipu, ordered him killed for praying to the God Vishnu. Vishnu protected him when his sister, Holika, who was thought to be immune from fire, placed him on her lap while sitting on a burning pyre. She burned to death while he miraculously escaped unharmed. In the village of Falen, 15 km from Kosi, Holi is celebrated in the middle of the night by the barefoot walking of a Holy Man over a burning pyre, symbolizing Prahlad’s devout devotion to Vishnu.