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The Life of Hinduism$
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John Stratton Hawley and Vasudha Narayanan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520249134

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520249134.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

• Holi

• Holi

The Feast of Love

(p.99) 7 • Holi
The Life of Hinduism

John Stratton Hawley

Vasudha Narayanan

University of California Press

This chapter examines Holi, the spring festival described as “the feast of love,” and celebrated when the moon is full. With Divali, the chaos is carefully ritualized. At Holi, by contrast, all hell breaks loose. The discussion describes what it feels like to reenact the dissolution of order in this way. With Holi, the clamor of fire-walking, burning the demoness Holika deep in the night, and the dousing of passersby with brightly colored water and a lot else the following morning is followed by a complete reversal of mood at noon. People don their whitest clothes and reconstitute society by visiting one another with a sense of peace and decorum that is unrivaled at any other time of year.

Keywords:   spring festival, Holi, feast of love, Divali, fire-walking, Holika

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