Also known as the "festival of love", "festival of spring" and the "festival of colours," Holi is celebrated in many South Asian communities, including India, Pakistan, Nepal and across the world.The celebrations are often separated into two days, known as Jalanewali Holi and Rangwali Holi.Typically, Jalanewali Holi is the day when friends and family gather after sunset to light a bonfire and sometimes throw grains, popcorn and chickpeas into the fire during rituals.

Indians perform rituals around a bonfire during Holi festival celebrations Image:Indians perform rituals around a bonfire during Holi festival celebrationsRangwali Holi is the second day of the festival and celebrates the beginning of spring, in which people come together to play with coloured powder and water.

The story of HoliThe ancient festival also welcomes the triumph of good over evil and one of the legends that marks where Holi may originate from is the story of Holika and Prahlad.As the legend goes, Holika was the sister of an evil king named Hiranyakashipu, who had powers that made him feel invincible.

AdvertisementThe king believed that the people in his kingdom should worship him - those that did not follow his orders would therefore be punished.However, Hiranyakashipu's son, Prahlad, did not want to worship his father and disobeyed the command.Prahlad decided to worship a Hindu God named Vishnu instead.

A portrait of Hindu god VishnuImage:A portrait of Hindu god VishnuThe king felt betrayed by his son and in a rage, decided to kill Prahlad with the help of Holika, who had a special cloak that protected her from fire.After the king's order, Holika started the fire and sat in the flames with Prahlad, in hopes of killing him.

The cloak however ended up protecting Prahlad rather than Holika, which led to her death.On that day, the king was also defeated by Vishnu and evil was overthrown by good - therefore marking the day many now call Holi.

The festival of coloursCentral to many people's beliefs, the story of Krishna and Radha also plays a big role in the festival of colours.The Hindu deity fell in love with his milkmaid but was too embarrassed by his blue skin, as Radha was more fair in complexion.In a playful exchange, Krishna coloured Radha's face during a game after throwing water and powder - said to be one of the origins of the festival.

* The email will not be published on the website.