The Holi Journey Information to India
The Holi festival will take your breath away from day one. Starting as Choti Holi or Holika Dahan with songs and dances around the illuminated pyrenees to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, the next day the Holi festival culminates with games – children and young people armed with dry colors, Pichkaris (Water guns)) and balloons take to the streets splashing blue, yellow and green. Read our Holi travel guide to find out more.
But what is so special that this ancient Hindu festival surpassed many others? Holi, coined as the spring festival, festival of colors and festival of love, is celebrated differently on the Indian subcontinent, but unites people when they celebrate the end of winter and meet others to forget and forgive.
Learn about Holi festivals, traditional meaning and read our guide to the best Holi celebrations in India or around the world.
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First, let’s examine some interesting facts about Holi, the festival of colors.
- Holi celebrations can last over a week in Northern India. There men walk around with signs and women can hit them gently with sticks. In the Brag region of Uttar Pradesh, where Krishna was born, the Holi festival lasts at least 16 days.
- Children start with water guns and colored powder a week before Holi and aim at passers-by on the street. The festival is so big that fine particles in the air increase by 600 percent!
- A special delight from Holi is gujiya, a dumpling-like sweet delicacy filled with dry fruits and nuts flavored with cardamom. There are also fillings with pistachios, cashews, coconut and rearing.
- Bhang Lassi – a drink made from yogurt, nuts, spices, rose water, and cannabis grown high in the Himalayas – is ancient in government-run stores and is especially popular during Holi. This milkshake is linked to the powerful monk god Shiva through mythology.
- The colors sprayed during the Holi festival have a special meaning: red symbolizes love, fertility, blue stands for Krishna and green – new beginnings. Natural Holi colors are obtained from sandalwood and Indian corals (red), henna (green) or indigo plants (blue). The yellow comes from turmeric. Choose your colored powder well!
But that’s not all. Learn about the traditions and origins of the Holi Festival to learn how to celebrate Holi Day and where to travel for the Festival of Colors in India.
When is Holi celebrated?
Holi celebrations take place every year after the full moon in the month of Phalguna, which usually falls in February or March. The dates are based on the lunar calendar. The eve of the main day of Holi is known as Holika Dahan and is also celebrated across India.
What is Lathmar Holi and why is it celebrated?
Lathmar Holi is a local Nandgaon and Barsana celebration for Holi in Uttar Pradesh that takes place days before the actual Holi. The name means “Holi of the stick”.
The story behind the Lahmar Holi, literally translated into chopsticks and colors, is derived from a famous Hindu legend of Lord Krishna, who was from Nandgaon and who teased Radha and her friends who drove him out of the city when he was his lover in Barsana attended. According to legend, men visit Barsana every year only to be met by women of Lathis, and the unfortunate are captured, dressed in women’s clothes, and made to dance in public. The whole scene takes place in the Radha Rani Temple in Barsana, the only temple in India dedicated to Radha.
The celebrations last over a week and people dance, sing and drink Thai, a traditional drink made from milk, peppercorn, almonds and spices like cardamom and saffron.
What is Phoolon Wali Holi?
Much like the special way of celebrating Holi in Barsana a few days before young Hindu faces are smeared in paint across the country, Phoolon Wali Holi is also a celebration of the Holi festival in the northern Indian region of Uttar Pradesh, the days before Offers color and joy.
Instead of throwing color pigments in the air or throwing balloons with colored solutions into the crowd, the city turns into a blooming field – the priests in the temple smear flowers on devotees, and flowers and rose, lotus or marigold petals are in the air thrown air. In the temples of Mathura and Vrindavan you can also experience flower holi with raining petals.
What are other unique regional types of Holi celebrations in India?
Holi is known by different names in India and is celebrated differently in different regions. Holi celebrations range from Shimoga or Rang Panchami in Maharashtra, which can be celebrated for a week, Royal Holi in Rajasthan with large processions organized by the royal Mewar family from Udaipur, to Hola Mohalla in Punjab in the north, where the Sikhs traditionally perform martial arts in celebration of the valor of the Sikh warriors.
What is the history and meaning of the Holi Festival?
The Holi festival in India dates back to at least the 4th century. Holi in India has also been mentioned by European traders since the 17th century. If you want to experience traditional Holi, it is a good idea to learn about the importance of these centuries-old Holi traditions.
Holika Dahan meaning
Holika Dahan is celebrated on the eve of Holi from the burning pyre, who sings and dances by the fire. The campfire represents the burning of the Holika demoness to save Prahlad, a king and follower of Lord Vishnu, and the victory of good over evil.
Play Holi Tradition Significance
The story of Radha and Krishna goes back to the Braj region in Uttar Pradesh, where Krishna grew up. When he was a baby he turned blue after drinking poisoned milk and asked his mother if Radha would like him because of the color of his skin. Krishna’s mother told him to paint Radha’s face any color – and when he did, they became a couple. Playing with colors, dancing, and singing along to the music of drums and other musical instruments is a custom today while happiness and love are spread. The harvest festival for a good harvest was the origin of the festival centuries ago, and today Flower Holi still has largely the meaning of an agricultural festival.
Best Destinations For Holi Festival In India
During Holi, people traveling to India are looking for authentic experiences that are best enjoyed in different locations. We cover the things you need to know about celebrating Holi in India.
The Holi festival in India is most often celebrated in areas associated with Krishna’s life such as Braj, Mathura and Vrindavan, Barsana and Nandgaon. These cities are good choices for those who want to celebrate Holi in a large crowd and not want to get off the beaten tourist destination as the region receives the most tourists during Holi.
West Bengal celebrates Holi under a different name – Dol Jatra – with song and dance (Chau dance in the picture). For a smaller Holi celebration, you can go to Nimdih, a little-known village on the border between West Bengal and Jharkhand, where mainly tribal people live. Folk songs are sung and dances performed there. Traditionally in the region that
Some of the wildest Holi parties are held in Delhi. With Holi Cow! The festival or Holi Moo as well as the Unite Holi Music Festival and Holi Sangria that take place in New Delhi are full of colorful experiences.
Called Holi Mahotsav or Kama Mahotsav, Holi celebrations in South India revolve around God of love. Although the Holi festival has its origins in the north, expect the same play with colors, but on a smaller scale. Plan your visit to Pongal, Onam, or Ugadi to see more traditional South Indian festivals.
Three forms of Holi are celebrated there. Biathki Holi begins in the premises of temples where holiyars (singers of Holi songs) gather to sing with instruments such as tabla and harmonium. Later, during Khadi Holi, people – usually men – in white nokdaar topi, churidar payjama and kurta dance in groups and visit homes of loved ones who sing songs. During Mahila Holi, you can listen to folk songs sung by women dedicated to love and spirituality.
In Bihar, be ready to dive into the mud! Playing Holi involves not only colored powders but also mud, but it’s well worth all the fun! Just like other cities that celebrate Holi in India, Bahar is full of joy and happiness when Bhojpuri folk songs are performed and you can try Malpua, Dahi Vada, and other traditional dishes.
Where to celebrate Holi around the world
Holi festivals are held all over the world by the Indian diaspora and by people inspired by the celebration of love, joy and the arrival of spring. Holi-inspired events such as music festivals or color runs are also becoming increasingly popular. In addition to India, there are celebrations in Nepal, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, Mauritius, Suriname, Great Britain and the USA. People love to celebrate color, joy, love and the beginning of spring around the world!
- Buy colored powders without chemicals and choose natural pigments whenever possible
- Some colors, such as malachite green, have been associated with severe eye irritation. It is therefore best to wear sunglasses and a face mask to avoid inhaling synthetic color pigments
- To wash off the colors easily, smear your face and hair with coconut oil before playing holi
- Wear a white top to keep the colors pop (but make sure to choose old clothes and shoes that can get wet).
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