What is Holi?
The Hindu Festival of Colours, Holi (holi festival) also known as Festival of Love celebrates the beautiful undying love of Radha Krishna. This “Festival of Spring” (Basant Utsav) is welcomed with enthusiasm every year which also marks the end of winter in India. This popular Indian festival is always the most awaited and is now celebrated in many other parts of the world also.
Not only the kids are fond of the colours, using water balloons and pichkaris but everyone is so into the colours, rituals and delicacies of this festival. Many people also see it as a new beginning; forgetting and forgiving the old, starting anew a colourful beautiful life filled with the love, releasing all their constraints and feel fresh again.
Why do we celebrate Holi?
While the festival of Holi can be a symbol of thanksgiving for a good harvest after winter; it is also observed as the victory of good over evil. Like any other festival in India, this festivals also has legends behind its celebration and rituals.
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The story behind Holika Dahan
Long ago, there once lived a mighty King named Hiranyakashipu. He was a demon king and was really cruel. He became so powerful that he considered himself a God and wanted to be worshipped like one by everyone in his kingdom. But his own son, Prahlada who was a true devotee of Lord Vishnu refused to worship his evil father. Aggrieved by the defiance of his son, Hiranyakashipu tried many a time killing his son, but nothing worked.
The king had a demon sister named Holika and asked her for help. Holika being a demoness had a special power of being immune to fire. Then, to kill Prahlada, she tricked him into sitting with her on a pyre. But since Prahlada was a true devotee he was saved by Lord Vishnu by giving him the immune power towards fire. And because of her evil desires Holika’s power became ineffective and she was burned to ashes. This is why the Choti Holi is celebrated as Holika Dahan marking the defeat of evil by good.
Since the festival also symbolizes Love and is meant to spread love and happiness with the colours. There is also another legend behind this.
The tale of Radha Krishna
When Lord Krishna was a baby, an evil demoness named Putana tried to kill him by feeding him her poisoned breast milk and because of that he got a unique blue skin colour. Later, when he grew up, he would often feel sad and ask her mother whether fair-coloured Radha or other girls in the village would ever like him because of his skin colour. Ceding to his despair, Krishna’s mother told him to go and colour Radha’s face with any colour he wanted to. So when Krishna proposed his love to Radha applying the colour, they became a symbol of love, and since then, people started playing with colours on Holi.
When is Holi celebrated?
The festival of Holi is celebrated at the end of winters marking the onset of spring. The date occurs on the last full moon day according to Hindu Calendar (Hindu Panchang) of the Phalguna (Fagun) month. According to Gregorian calendar this date mostly falls in March but sometimes in the end of Februrary.
- Holi Date 2022: 18 March, 2022
- Holi Date 2023: 8 March, 2023
How to celebrate Holi in India?
A day before the main colourful event (rang wali holi) of this festival; a large pile of wood is assembled in an open public area and Hindu women bring their offerings to this pile for Puja. Then at same night, people get together to burn the pile as a symbol of burning down all their inner evil. This ritual has come from the legend of Holika Dahan.
The next day on Badi Holi, people form groups and colour everyone spreading love and happiness and to mark the beginning of their new colourful lives. Kids carrying water guns (pichkari), balloons of water, gulaal, and coloured water start off early in the morning.
No person can say no to the colours as this is a festival of colours. The festival of colours start off early in the morning along with home-made snacks and other delicacies like gujiya, pakoras, etc. and some dancing on the music while colouring everyone. The event wraps up by afternoon.
If you are a tourist and looking forward to get a beautiful experience of this festival; then here are some recommendations of places where you can enjoy more of this festival: Banke Bihari Temple, Vrindavan (for phoolon wali holi); Barsana (for Lathmar Holi); Shantiniketan; Delhi (for crazy mad moozik festival); Manipur (for Yaoshang festival); Punjab (for the punjabi way of this festival and their special snacks for the event); Jaipur; Udaipur.
What to wear on Holi?
First thing to keep in mind is its not a festival of wearing fancy expensive as they will get stains because of colours. The dress code of this festival is wearing a white attire. So to welcome the colours of joy, people on this day dress with white clothes entirely.
Women can go with cheap white or cream coloured kurtis, suits, sarees, etc. And men can dress in white kurta pajamas. The dresses could be better if they are plain. Other than that people also wear their old light coloured clothes to enjoy the festival.
Holi Quotes and Holi wishes
- Fir aayi rangon ki bahar,
aap sabhi ko mubarak ho
meri taraf se ye holi ka tyohaar!
- Wish a joyous festival full of happiness and prosperity! Happy Holi!
- May this Holi bring you lots of colourful seasons and days in your life filled with plenty of happiness and love.
- May god gift you all the colours of life, joy, happiness , friendship, love and all other colours you want to paint your life with. Wish you a very Happy Holi!
- आपको और आपके परिवार को होली की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं!
- A very Happy and Colourful Holi to everyone!
- Let’s celebrate this Holi starting anew, forgetting all the previous happenings and paint the whiteboards of our life with this colourful festival of Love and Joy! Happy Holi Dear!
- Bura na mano Holi hai! Let all the seven colours bring joy to you and your family! Happy Holi!
- Have a happy and safe Holi!
- May you celebrate a colourful and blessed holi filled with sweetness like gujiya and mithai! Happy Holi!
- आई रे आई होली आई,
रंगो की बहार है लायी,
खूब खाए हम गुजिया व मिठाई,
आपको होली की बहुत बहुत बधाई!
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Holi Safety precautions
While playing Holi in India as a kid and a woman you have to some safety precautions also. As it can get a little wild out there. First off to take care of you skin and if you don’t want to get colours for weeks on it, use oil. Applying oil on your skin before going to play with colours can really help you out. Any kind of oil is suitable for this, you can use your regular hair oil for your hairs and your body as well.
Also it would be really great if you leave your electronics like your phones or camera back at where you are staying because people don’t really hold back in attacking with balloons of water even if you refuse to.
Since a specific alcohol known as bhaang is consumed while playing Holi and to have fun, it would be great to look out for yourself as it can get really ugly. For women, it is advised to be in the groups of your known ones so that there are really low chances of bad incidents. And for children to be with their parents or known adults.
Other than this some Hotels also organize safe Holi functions for their guests, so tourists can also look up for that. And lastly while playing holi make sure to protect your eyes, mouth and ears from the attack of colours and water.