Holi is one of Hinduism's most colorful festivals. It is the spring festival of India. It occurs on the full moon day of the month Phaalguna (the 10th month of the Indian calendar). This is usually in April, although it can be during late March according to the Christian calendar. On this day, everyone gets dressed up and joyfully sprinkles gulal, a colored powder, at everyone else. This rejoicing is aimed at a legendary story of Holika, a demoness.
Holika was the demon sister of Hiranyakashipu, the demon king. He had a son named Prahlaad. Prahlaad was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Despite his efforts, Hiranyakashipu could not stop his son's worship of the Lord. He tried several times to kill his son, but God saved Prahlaad every time. Hiranyakashipu decided to burn Prahlaad. He asked his sister Holika to sit with Prahlaad in the fire. Holika had received a boon from God that would make her unscathed by fire. Fearing her brother's wrath, she did as she was told, but when she stepped into the fire, that boon from God ended and she was burnt to death in the fire while Prahlaad remained safe. Holika was killed for trying to harm a devotee of the Lord.
The story goes on until Lord Vishnu appears in the form of a half man-half lion form. He slays Hiranyakashapu, and saves Prahlaad.
Now, many places burn a huge cardboard statue of Holika during Holi and sing and dance to rejoice.
There are no major foods associated with Holi. People usually make some snack food. One snack that might be made is Chackli, a kind of pretzel.
Above: Chackli, a pretzel like snack, is made for Holi.
Above: The Chackli press, called an "achchu", is made of three parts, as shown in the picture. You must have this press in order to make Chackli. This utensil is available at most Indian stores.