Folklore: Holi Festival

January 30, 2017

Daniela Ramos

With its bright flora, its patterned rickshaws, its breath-taking textiles and its never-ending monuments, India could easily be considered one of the most colorful countries on Earth. But, once a year, it becomes even more so with the arrival of the Holi festival of colors to commence spring.

Holi (also known as “the festival of colors” or “the festival of sharing the love”) is a Hindu festival celebrated during spring in India and Nepal. The festival celebrates the arrival of spring and the end of winter, which signifies the victory of good over evil. Holi lasts for two days, starting on Full Moon day (Purnima) and ending in the Bikram Sambat.

For many, Holi is a time to meet others, to forgive, repair relationships and to give thanks for a good harvest. Mainly, the festival is meant to represent forgiveness and new beginnings, aiming to generate harmony.

Holi is also a festival of forgiveness and new beginnings and its aim is to generate harmony in among society

This year, the festival will begin on March 13th and of course, we will no miss the chance to celebrate it on site at our programs in India!

The bonfire

Holi begins the night before with a Holika bonfire (representing the burning and death of Holika, the devil). During the fire, people gather together to perform rituals, including singing and dancing around the fire.

The color battle

The following morning is where Rangwali Holi, the famous carnival of colors, begins. During Rangwali Holi, people smear each other with powder and colored water (sometimes using water guns and balloons). This takes place anywhere – the streets, parks, temples and anyone is fair game – it doesn’t matter if you know them or not.

During and after the festival, it is time to share food and drinks with loved ones, a part of the festival where nearly everyone will get at least a bit tipsy!

The afterparty

This is the less fun part of the festival – the time to clean up the havoc from the previous day.

After cleaning up, it is time to dress up and visit friends and relatives to exchange sweets.



Traditionally, the colors used during the festival came from flowers and herbs, but today they are mostly synthetic, so do make sure to wear a shirt you don’t mind getting splattered in color and be prepared to have colorful hair for at least two days after the color war is over!


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