What is Holi festival?

Reasons to celebrate

Holi festival is a traditional Hindu festival that celebrates both the beginning of spring and the triumph of good over evil. And some people see it as a celebration of love, fertility and colour too. Oh and a time for friends to get together. And for broken relationships to be mended. Well, why limit yourself to just one cause when there’s so many good reasons to celebrate?

Full moon

Holi festival is strongly linked with India and Nepal but it’s now celebrated across the world. The festival begins on the evening of the first full moon in “Phalguna” (February / March) and usually takes place over two days. This year’s Holi festival is on 1-2 March.

Two parts make a whole

The festival has two distinct parts. On the first evening (Holika Dahan) people sing, dance and pray around large bonfires. On the following day (Rangwali Holi) the streets become a fun-filled rainbow explosion as people gather in public areas and throw colourful powders and water at pretty much everyone. You’ve been warned!

Good triumphs over evil

Holika Dahan means Holika’s death and this first part of the festival is linked to the burning of the demon Holika. How Holika ends up being burnt to death is unclear. One of the most popular stories tells of how she took her son into a fire in an attempt to kill him, whilst she wore a protective cloak. However, the cloak flew off her and onto him, so Holika was killed instead. Whether or not this is the true origin of the festival, one thing is clear – it’s all about the victory of good over evil.

Colour in the air

There are lots of different theories about the origins of colour in the festival too. The one we like best is the story of Krishna and Radha. The Hindu god Krishna loved Radha but was worried she wouldn’t like him back as his dark blue skin was such a different colour from hers. On his mother’s advice, he painted her face so that they matched. Aww – even the gods get insecure!

Fun and laughter across the world

You can take part in the festivities across the world, from Nepal to the UK. However, if you really want the full-on experience, India is the place to be. Today, the religious aspects of the festival are less important than getting together with friends to have fun, celebrate the start of spring and get drenched in colour. Just remember to wear old clothes!

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