Celebrations started a day before with people across India marking 'Choti Holi' or 'Holika Dahan' on Tuesday as a prelude to the festival of colours Holi on Wednesday.
Invoking the legend of Prahlad, bonfires were lit across the country on the occasion of 'Holika Dahan'.
According to Hindu mythology, Prahlad worshipped Hindu god Vishnu which angered his father- demon king Hiranyakashipu.
Bonfires were lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire.
Holika was burnt but Prahlad escaped without any injury.
'Holika Dahan' is referred to as 'Kama Dahanam' in South India.
'Holi' is one of the festivals that not only unites the whole country but it has an access to all age groups.
The celebrations start with seeking blessings from elders in the morning and eventually turns into massive play with colours.
People generally prefer white dresses to mark this day, which later gets splashed in colours.
Starting from dry colours to water colours, the day gets immersed in a variety of shades.
Kids use 'pichkaris' to sprinkle water colours on each and every passers-by, while the grown ups greet their friends with dry colours and sweets.
Since, any festival in India is incomplete without food, 'Holi' is celebrated with special dishes either home made or with long queues of people waiting outside eateries.
But even as the nation celebrates 'Holi', the preservation of water, owing to the drought in Maharashtra remains a matter of concern this festival and news channels like CNN IBN are spreading a message.
Celebrities, activists, writers and cricketers took it to micro blogging site twitter to wish everyone and to share their opinions on this special day.
Actor Akshay Kumar tweeted:"Hate being away from home specially on festivals. You guys are lucky to get to spend the day with family and friends,"
Actor Shreyas Talpade tweeted:"Wishing everyone a happy n colourful holi. Pl (please) save water."
TV host Mini Mathur tweeted:" Holi Mubarak everyone. Let evil go. Let the good remain. Let the rain dance go, Let the water remain."
Writer Taslima Nasreen tweeted in a rather negative comment:"Is holi holy?"
Singer Shreya Ghoshal tweeted:" Happy holi! Hv (have) loads of yummy mithais (sweets), do a lot of naach gaana bajaana (music)! Play a little with colours but don't overdo it! It's harmful.."
Actress Raima Sen tweeted:"Happy Holi twitter world:):):)"
Actor/ Social activist Anupam Kher tweeted:"Happy Holi. Keep it dry. Water sometimes dilutes the spirit of colour. :) Also keep Maharashtra Drought in mind. Jai Ho."
Fashion designer Manish Malhotra tweeted:"Happy holi everyone :-) play safe :-)"
Tollywood actress Swastika Mukherjee tweeted:" Unholi (unholy) ko holi karde...holi ko unholi! Have a Happy one. ;-) "
Cricketer Suresh Raina tweeted:"Holi hai! Colors, gujhia, masti and music...... Have a fantastic Holi."
Cricketer Gautam Gambhir tweeted:"Hi champs, wish u all a great time this holi. Have a great time. God bless u all. Enjoy but please be mindful of preserving water."
Actress Gul Panag tewwted:"Holi hai! Have a safe one"
Actor Vivek Oberoi tweeted:"Happy Holi all u amazing people! Sharing a clip of my '10 #holi celebration wid (with) my ProjectDEVI angels!"
Cricketer Aakash Chopra tweeted:"Wishing everyone a very happy, colorful and, above all, a safe Holi. Stay blessed."
--IBNS (Posted on 27-03-2013)