Holi Quick Facts - IN

AKA NameFestival of Colours or Festival of Love, होली
HashtagsCompiled on#Holi, #Holi2024
Related Hashtags#VedicHoliHealthyHoli
2024 Date25 March 2024

Holi (Hindu Festival)

Holi (Hindu Festival) in
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Holi History

Holi celebrates the arrival of spring, end of winter, and signifies the victory of good over evil. Known as the festival of colours, Holi engulfs Indian societies with joy and love, as it brings together people of all age groups, castes and communities. A key aspect of Holi is the playful tossing of organic coloured powders, which embodies the spirit of unity and equality, as all participants become uniformly drenched and indistinguishable.

Holi’s origins trace back to ancient Hindu stories. The most common tale recounts the demon King Hiranyakashipu, his son Prahlada, and the king’s sinister sister, Holika. Resilient Prahlada, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, triumphed over his tyrannical father's attempts to murder him, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. This tale, along with other fables associated with Lord Krishna, forms the spiritual and cultural essence of Holi for Hindus throughout India. A particular tradition observed during Holi is the 'Holika Dahan', where a bonfire is lit on the eve of Holi, representing the burning of wicked Holika and the righteousness of Prahlada.

Holi celebrations in India are exuberant and involve gatherings in both public and private spaces, where participants engage in the throwing of coloured powders and water, singing, dancing, and merry feasting. The festival starts with "Holika Dahan", followed by the 'colour play' the next morning, also known as "Rangwali Holi". The timing of Holi is tied to the lunar calendar and typically falls in late February or early March, marking the arrival of spring season.

Facts about Holi

  • 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.
  • Traditionally colors were achieved through dyes that were made from turmeric, sandalwood, flower and 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.
  • In Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, an interesting form of Holi called Lathmar Holi is played. According to tradition, men from Nandgaon (the hometown of Krishna) visit Barsana to play Holi with the women there who playfully beat them with sticks, hence the name Lathmar Holi.
  • Each region in India has its unique twist in celebrating Holi. For instance, the Braj region, associated with Lord Krishna, celebrates the Lathmar Holi where women chase men away with sticks.

Top things to do in India for Holi

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Visit Mathura and Vrindavan: These cities are closely associated with Lord Krishna, and hence, they are renowned for their Holi celebrations. In Mathura, Holi is celebrated for over a week with various unique rituals like Lathmar Holi and Flower Holi (Phoolon ki Holi).
  • Read a book to read to learn more about Holi Festival in India?
    Festival of Colors - by Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal: A beautifully illustrated book that introduces the joyous Indian festival to children.
    Holi – The Fire Festival - by Bina Rai: It offers great insights into the festival, its significance and the way it is celebrated.

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