Holi – The Indian festival of colours and love
The spring festival named Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular in several parts of South Asia and it represents the rid and ending of past errors, as the day of forgiveness and hope. Moreover the famous festival signifies the great victory of good over evil, as well as the arrival of spring.
- Holi Festival in India 2017 is on Monday March 13th, with Holika Dahan on Sunday, March 12 2017
- Holi Festival in India 2018 is on Friday March 2nd, with Holika Dahan on Sunday, March 1st 2018
The origins of Holi are based on a symbolic Hindu legend. There once was an evil king called Hiranyakashipu who earned a boon that virtually made him almost indestructible. He forced everybody to worship him however his own son called Prahlada devoted to Vishnu, another important god. After being punished from his father, Prahlada’s evil aunt tried to trick him, but her cloak that made her immune to fire, saved Prahlada in an inferno. In addition, Vishnu appeared killing Hiranyakashipu and good Pralahda survived. Nowadays the bonfire is a significant reminder of evil’s loss against the goodness.
The colours thrown at each other at the festival tell an interesting story, too. Krishna, a different god, has had a blue skin colour due to a demon poisoning him with her breast milk. Henceforth he is desperate because of his unusual skin colour and finally gets the order from his mother to paint a girls face with any colour he wants. Later he and the girl he painted become a couple. The origin stories therefore tell the importance of love, forgiveness and the victory of good over evil.
The festival is primarily celebrated in India, Nepal and in some other regions of the world, especially from Hindus or people with Indian ancestors. At the very beginning, the night before Holi, the usual celebration starts with a magnificent Holika bonfire and the participants sing and dance gathered. The next morning, the carnival of colours takes place, where all people play and throw dry coloured powder on each other. Groups of musicians join the friendly company with their solemn music. As well people visit their families in the evening after having sobering up from intoxicating drinks like Bhang which has some cannabis leaves as its ingredients.
At the approach of vernal equinox on full moon, the Holi festival begins every year. That’s why the festival date varies from year to year and typically takes place in March or February measured with the Gregorian calendar. In some regions in India the festival has such a high significance that religious people celebrate it for sixteen days. The religious background behind the curtains remains with the love of Radha for Krishna.