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If A festival of Northern India which presents points of resemblance to the popular European celebrations which we have been considering is the Holi.
This is a village festival held in early spring at the full moon of the month Phalgun.
In Kumaon, a district of North-West India, at the foot of the Himalayas, each clan celebrates the Holi festival by cutting down a tree, which is thereupon stripped of its leaves, decked with shreds of cloth, and burnt at some convenient place in the quarter of the town inhabited by the clan.
Another feature of the festival which has, or once had, its counterpart in the corresponding European ceremonies is the unchecked profligacy which prevails among the Hindoos at this time.The chief performers in the ceremony are labourers, who refrain from women for seven days, and fast for three days before the festival.During these days they are taught in the temple how to discharge the difficult and dangerous duty which is to be laid upon them.In Gwalior large heaps of cow-dung are burnt instead of trees.
Among the Marwaris the festival is celebrated by the women with obscene songs and gestures.This fire is an offering to Sûrya, the sun-god, or to Agni, the deity of fire; it If this is indeed the explanation which the people themselves give of the festival, it seems decisive in favour of the solar explanation of the fires; for to say that the fires waken the sun-god from his sleep is only a metaphorical or mythical way of saying that they actually help to rekindle the sun's light and heat.