Holi - March 08, 2023

Holi
Last Updated on: 25 Nov 2022

What is Holi?

Holi celebrations might mirror different things for the celebrant. Some see it as a festival filled with vibrant colors, music, and dancing. For others, it brings to mind its religious significance. Overall,  It is the most outrageous extravaganza of colors for everyone. 

Hindu worshipers of Lord Krishna celebrate Holi to recall and recreate the heavenly love of Radha and Krishna over most of the Indian subcontinent. The last full moon of the Phalguna lunar month is when they celebrate Holi or Dol. 

It signifies the start of spring and the end of winter.   

Holi Quick Overview

  • Category: Cultural 
  • Where It’s Marked? India, Globally 
  • Why It’s Marked? The two-day festival is a pleasant way of welcoming spring.

History of Holi

Let's start with the story of Holika. Holi's origins can be found in two ancient legends. One of them concerns Holika, and the other tells the incredible love story between playful Krishna and gorgeous Radha.

1. The Story of Holika

This is a Hindu legend of Prahlada. Hiranyakshipu was the name of a former demon ruler. He reigned as the ruler of all Asura or demons and had been worshiping Lord Brahma for thousands of years. 

The demon king became nearly indestructible thanks to Brahma’s grace because it was challenging to kill him. He forced everyone in his kingdom and on earth to worship him instead of all the Gods. 

He started to kill or punish people who would disobey him. Ironically, his son, Prahlada, became a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Eventually, his father heard about it and tried to persuade him to stop worshiping Vishnu. 

But Prahlada’s devotion was unshakable. Soon, his father made several attempts to kill his son with poison and snakes, but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. 

Hiranyakshipu had a demonic sister Holika. She had a cloak that could save her from the blaze of fire. The devil king asked his sister to enter the fire with his son so his son could be killed. 

Holika wore the cloak and entered the fire with Prahlada in her lap. Vishnu was always watching over his devotee. So, with an invisible force, the cloak flew from Holika to Prahlada and saved him from fire while Holika was burnt to ashes. 

Having had enough, Vishnu appeared as an avatar of Narasimha (half lion, half man) and killed Hiranyakshipu. The legend concludes as a triumph of good over evil. And people started commemorating the legend by lighting a bonfire night before Holi. 

The name Holi probably came from the legend of Holika.  

2. The Legend of Natkhat Gopal

The story of Holika explains why people light bonfires before Holi. And now it's time for you to know the story behind the second part of Holi, which is often called Rangwali Holi. It is the part where people use colored powder and watercolors to play.

He was the mischievous and naughtiest child in Brindaban during his younger years, even though Krishna was God himself. Gopal was Krishna's boyhood name, while Natkhat meant "naughty." As you can guess, the story of Holi associated with Krishna is just a glimpse of his pranks. 

Krishna had beautiful dark blue complexed skin. One of the demons, Putana, tried to poison him in his childhood while breastfeeding him, But Krishna killed her and got the skin because of the poison. 

However, one day, Krishna went to her mother, Yashoda, and started complaining about his skin color. He was jealous of Radha and other Gopi’s(friends of Radha) fair skin. So, Yashoda maa told him to go and color Radha’s face in any color he wanted. Playful Krishna had a new idea in his mind to prank Radha. 

He told his friends, made colors from flowers, and waited for Radha with the colors and Pichkaris full of watercolor. Krishna colored Radha in his shade, and soon whole Brindaban, Nandhgaon, and Braja started celebrating the joyous festival. And commemorates the divine love of Radha and Krishna. 

How to celebrate Holi?

Holi

With Colors! Colors! It's said that Holi is the craziest carnival in the world, with eternal happiness, music, dancing, food, and other things, and it's all about adding some color to your drab existence.

The only requirements for playing Holi are to put on a white outfit, gather some powdered colors or colorful water balloons, and head outside. And here is a list of ideas for your upcoming Holi festival. 

1. Start with Holika Dahan

The night before holi, people of a family or neighborhood gather together and start a bonfire called Holika Dahan. The eldest of your family or the priest will ignite the bonfire and throw roasted gains, popcorn, coconut, and chickpeas. 

After that, elders express their blessings and good wishes by smearing the powder color. If you are a younger member, you should first spread a bit of Aabir or color to your elderly’s feet. 

2. Enjoy Holi all day long

Holi is a festival to welcome spring and mark the end of winter. Therefore, it inspires people to wish the best for each other while smearing colors on each other's faces. This blissful festival helps you enjoy nature's colors regardless of religion, caste, or gender. 

Well, you can attend a holiday party where your friends invite you. Or you can throw a Holi party at your own house with style.

Here is a short list of things that you might need on a Holiday:

  1. Choose an outfit that you don't mind putting colors on it. 
  2. Use a bandana and sunglasses to protect your hair and eyes. 
  3. Try to buy organic and natural colors for playing Holi. The chemical ones are no good news for your skin.
  4. Create your playlist of peppy Bollywood songs to set the mood. 
  5. Food! Holi is all about playing all day long with colors and eating snacks whenever you feel tired to have the energy back to play again. Puran Poli, Gujiya, Dahi vada, Gol-Gappa, Chaat, and Bhel-puri are the must-have items on the counter, along with the stack of colors. 
  6.  A party cannot go without having the proper drinks. And on a crazy Holiday, you have to quench your thirst with a cold glass of Thandai, Lassi, mocktails, and lemonades. 
  7. If you want to have more fun, add a twist to your party with Bhang, an Indian drink made with milk, spices, and the cannabis plant. You have permission to go crazy, right?

Countries that observe Holi                    

Holi is also considered auspicious in Nepal. Apart from India, the biggest celebration is held in Nepal in Basantpur Durbar Square in Kathmandu. 

Other than these, the popularity of celebrating Holi has spread to America, Europe, and Canada as well. 

Interesting facts about Holi

The history behind Holi is not the only exciting fact you get to know today. We still have a bunch of unique attributes to tell you. So, here they are:

  • In India, men from Nandgaon visit Barsana to celebrate Holi with the women there. They are welcomed while beaten up by sticks and hold a padded shield over their head. This tradition is known as Lat Maar Holi.
  • On the next day, transgender people from Barsana visit Nandgaon to celebrate Holi, wearing women's outfits and covering their faces. They dance and play drums while playing Holi. 
  • In Brindaban, after worshiping Radha and Krishna, people celebrate the flower Holi, where they play Holi with flowers instead of colors. It is known as Tilak.
  • ‘Radhe Radhe’ and ‘Hati Ghora Palki Jay Kanhaia Lal Ki’ are the chants people say when they apply colors to each other. 
  • You can smear colors on a stranger and say, “Can’t Help; it’s Holi.” 
  • In Maharashtra, Matki Phod (breaking the pot) tradition starts the Holi celebration. Men climb on top of each other and form a human pyramid to a height from which a pot of buttermilk is hanging. It represents the act of mischievous Krishna stealing buttermilk in his childhood. 
  • Widows and estranged women do not play Holi in India. 
  • Sikhs observe Hola Mohalla before Holi in Punjab. 
  • In Assam, Holi is known as Basanta Utsav (Welcoming Spring) 

Unique Holi Celebration Ideas

Holi

If you want to have fun on Holi Day, thousands of ways can be found. Some people prefer to play colors with friends, while others choose a different way to spread happiness. Let's find out what can be your unique Holi celebration idea.

1. Visit Vrindavan

Vrindavan is a living legend where it is believed that Radha and Krishna still exist and emerge in their divine Rashleela. This Holi, you can tour these cities of India where Holi is observed for over a week.

Bakebihari temple in Mathura and Nandgaon Mandir has the most energetic crowd in Holi. It can be a once-in-a-lifetime festival of your life!

2. Spread Happiness

Holi is all about celebrating with family and friends. But what happens to those who don't have any? 

This Holi, you can visit an orphanage or nursing home. Bring sweets, food, and drinks and enjoy Holi with them. Your little initiative can bring a smile to one's face on this joyous occasion. 

3. Make your color

You can make your colors at home. Invite friends to stay overnight and use powdery natural and herbal ingredients. Examples include Multani mitti, Besan, Milk powder, coarse besan or rice, sandalwood, and lentils.

Or, you can book a hotel, spend the vacation chilling at the beach, or go on a trek in the Himalayas! 

Holi Quotes  

What is left now are the quotes that you may want to share to wish on Holi. So, here they are: 

"Whenever you splash Holi colors on somebody, you give them a promise of being truthful towards them, maintaining a lifelong brotherhood with them, and showering them with all the possible love. Happy Holi".

"Burn your ego, expectations, and ill thoughts in the fire of Holi". 

"Holi is a particular time of the year to remember those close to our hearts with splashing colors!"

"To everybody here’s looking at all colors of light. May your happiness be in all shades, vibrancy &madness of these colors. Happy Holi & be safe". - Shah Rukh Khan

FAQ

1. What is God Holi about?

Hindu God Vishnu, Krishna, and Radha’s different stories are associated with Holi. 

2. Can I wear yellow on Holi?

You can wear yellow, pink, white, or any floral print outfit on Holi.

3. What does pink mean in Holi?

The color of caring and compassion is Pink on Holi. 

4. How old is Holi?

Holi can be dated back to the 4th century CE.

Holi Observances

Year Weekday Date Name
2021 Monday 29 March Holi
2022 Friday 18 March Holi
2023 Wednesday 08 March Holi
2024 Monday 25 March Holi
2025 Friday 14 March Holi
2026 Wednesday 04 March Holi

We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.

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