The Holi festival commemorates the victory of good over evil, brought about by the burning and destruction of the demoness named Holika. This was enabled through unwavering devotion to the Hindu god of preservation, Lord Vishnu.
Holi got its name as the “Festival of Colors” from Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to play pranks on the village girls by drenching them in water and colors.
The festival marks the end of winter and the abundance of the upcoming spring harvest season.
When is Holi Celebrated?
The day after the full moon in March each year. In 2018, Holi will be celebrated on March 2. The festival takes place a day earlier in West Bengal and Odisha.
Find out when is Holi in future years.
Where is Holi Celebrated?
You’ll find Holi festivities taking place in most areas of India. However, they’re more exuberant in some places than others. Check out these 10 Places to Celebrate the Holi Festival in India (and one region that should be avoided).
Traditional Holi celebrations are the biggest at Mathura and Vrindavan, four hours from Delhi.
How is Holi Celebrated?
People spend the day smearing colored powder all over each other’s faces, throwing colored water at each other, having parties, and dancing under water sprinklers. Bhang (a paste made from cannabis plants) is also traditionally consumed during the celebrations.
See pictures of Holi celebrations in this Holi Festival Photo Gallery.
Special Holi events with music, rain dances, and colors are organized in large cities across India — particularly in Delhi and Mumbai. It’s possible to celebrate Holi with a local Indian family in Delhi and in Jaipur.
What Rituals are Performed?
The emphasis of Holi rituals is on the burning of demoness Holika.
On the eve of Holi, large bonfires are lit to mark occasion. This is known as Holika Dahan. As well as performing a special puja, people sing and dance around the fire, and walk around it three times.
The burning of Holika is mentioned in the Hindu text, the Narada Purana. Apparently, Holika’s brother demon King Hiranyakashyap instructed her to burn his son, Prahlad, because he followed Lord Vishnu and didn’t worship him. Holika sat with Prahlad in her lap, in the burning fire, because it was thought that no fire could harm her. However, due to his devotion to Lord Vishnu who protected him, Prahlad survived and Holika was charred to death.
What to Expect During the Celebrations
Holi is a very carefree festival that’s great fun to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. You’ll end up saturated in water, with color all over your skin and clothes. Some of it doesn’t wash out easily, so be sure to wear old clothes. It’s also a good idea to rub hair oil or coconut oil into your skin beforehand, to prevent the color from absorbing.
Travel To India And Be Apart Of Holi Festival!
February 16 – March 3, 2018
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