Holi is the ancient Hindu Festival of Love and also known as the Festival of Colors. The origins of Holi lie in ancient Hindu traditions where Holi was celebrated to mark the arrival of spring.
Holi is also related to the legend of Holika, the evil sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu, who tried to burn Hiranyakashipu's son Prahlada. Prahlada had maintained faith in god (Vishnu), while Hiranyakashipu contended that he was god. Wearing a cloak that guarded her from fire, Holika lured Prahlada into a fire but the cloak that was guarding Holika flew and protected Prahlada instead. Because of this Holi also celebrates the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and love over hate.
Holi Facts & Quotes
- The name Holi stems from Holiya, who was the evil sister of a demon god that tried to burn her nephew. According to ancient Sanskrit scriptures, Holiya died in the fire while her nephew was unharmed. Since then, on the eve of Holi, a bonfire named Holiya is lit to signify the triumph of good over evil.
- Central to most Holi festivals are bright colors that are often thrown, sprayed or painted on. For this reason Holi is often refer to as the Festival of Colors.
- Traditionally colors were achieved through dyes that were made from turmeric, sandalwood, flower an leaf extracts, and beetroots. In recent times Synthetic Color dyes are often used during Holi festivals. These dyes are often toxic or cause allergic reactions. It's a good idea to rub coconut oil into your skin before hand, to prevent toxic color dyes from absorbing.
- Bhang, tea made from cannabis leaves, is frequently served at some Holi celebrations in India and Nepal. Bhang also contains milk, butter and spicies (cinnamon or nutmeg).
Holi is the day to express love with colors. It is a time to show affection. All the colors that are on you are of love. - Anonymous
Holi Top Events and Things to Do
- Light a Holika bonfire the night before Holi. Read the legend associated with it about Holika, the demoness in Hindu Vedic scriptures that was burnt with the help of God Vishnu.
- Decorate your home with colorful ribbons and adornments to recognize the holi festival. Marigold flowers are traditionally hung over balconies, railings and staircases. Sofa cushions are often covered with bold, bright colors. Walls are traditionally covered with colorful fabric patchwork.
- Attend a Holi Festival. Festivals are held across cities in the United States, especially where there is a large Hindu or Yoga community. Festivals often includes yoga demonstrations, Bollywood music, color dye toss, and Indian Food.
- Watch the Bollywood movie Mohabbatein (2000). It includes scenes where a song called Soni Soni is played during a holi festival celebration in India.
- Eat at an Indian restaurant on this day to enjoy some Holi specialty sweet dishes such as shakarpara (sweet crispy bread), gujjias (sweet fried dumplings), kheer (rice pudding) and malpua (pancakes).