Here’s everything you need to know about Holi, the colorful Hindu festival that says good riddance to winter by welcoming spring!
1.) Holi is an annual festival celebrated in the Indian subcontinent. Some countries known for celebrating the Hindu festival are India, Nepal, Pakistan and more. While the festival is widely known as the celebration to welcome spring it is also symbolic of the victory of good over evil, and a day to meet others and rekindle broken relationships. It starts on the evening of Purnima (full moon) and lasts throughout the night and the next day. However, some places will celebrate it for days at a time. The festival goes back centuries, but in more recent years it has been celebrated annually in parts of South Asia, Europe and North America.
2.) People celebrate the ‘Festival of Colours’ with, well, colors! The morning after the full moon is when the most fun happens for those who celebrate Holi. Often described as a “free-for-all”, people gather together in large groups to cover each other in vibrant colored water and powders. Some people take it one step further by filling up water guns to drench people, while others will fill up water balloons to launch at friends, family, neighbors and strangers. In the Indian subcontinent countries, the streets will fill with people covered in colors while they dance, sing and play music!
3.) Holi has centuries of history in the Hindu culture. The celebration is mentioned in the Puranas, which are ancient Hindu texts that were verbally communicated before finally being put into text and then modified into the 16th century. Because of this, it’s hard to nail down an exact date of origin.
4.) The colors used are specially made for Holi. They are called “Holi powder” and are made in many different ways. On the Indian subcontinent, people start making and selling different Holi powder colors at least a week before the festival begins. Traditionally these colors are made using natural ingredients like fruit, flowers, leaves, plants and more. Unfortunately more modern versions of the Holi powder are made synthetically, which has caused health issues like eye and skin irritation. If you’re going to celebrate Holi make sure you purchase organic powders to use! Or, you can make your own — see some recipes HERE.
5.) Holi has inspired events all over the world! In recent years there has been a music festival inspired by the Hindu festival called the Festival of Colours tour. There have also been 5k runs like The Color Run, Holi Run and Color Me Rad. Unfortunately the events have caused controversy because some believe that the organizers were trying to profit off of a historic Hindu event.