Why does diffraction happen at all? When waves encounter a hole, do they spread out?

Diffraction is a fundamental interaction of light with matter. Specifically, photons interacting with electrons. Photons are oscillations of the electromagnetic field, which electrons are particle manifestations. Diffrraction, refraction, and reflection are all just interaction of photons with electrons. Usually, the electrons are in orbit around protons bound to neutrons. Much of our existence is saturated with this form of matter, electron-proton-neutron type elements and compounds that is. So photons will behave accordingly, interacting via the energy levels quantized per electron orbitals and per corresponding photon frequency.

So, the hole in some material is a side issue, and the particle-wave duality just an illusion of detector imprecision.

In other words, we cannot see the dimension it which it flows; let alone if it spreads or not.

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