Useful Tips

Festival of colors in India - Holi festival


Not everyone knows that the most large-scale holiday of Holi colors can be seen in India. Holi is a national holiday of India, the traditions of which they have been observing for more than three hundred years and are not going to refuse them in the near future. The festival of colors symbolizes the arrival of spring and the end of a long winter.

Holi festival of colors does not have an exact date. It can be held in February and March, it all depends on the full moon - the festival begins the next day after it.

Holi Holiday Story

The first mention of this holiday appeared in ancient Sanskrit, as well as in the Vedas (these are collections of ancient scriptures of Hindus in Sanskrit). Another proof of the existence of this holiday is a stone inscription made three centuries ago.

The origin of this festival explains several legends that have come down to us through many generations.

The first legend says that the name of the holiday was given in honor of the demoness, sister of the strict and evil king Hiranyakasipu. The ruler gained the opportunity to live forever and therefore began to consider himself a god, and after that made everyone worship only him. The son of this king, Prahlada, recognized only one of the divine beings - Vishnu, and no one could convince him of the power of other deities.

So the king’s sister - Kholika - decided to kill her nephew who did not believe in his father. For this, she told Prahlada to go up to the fire, thus paying tribute to the god Visnu. Everyone believed that the demoness did not burn in the fire. It turned out quite the opposite - the sister burned down, and Prahlada was saved by the god Vishnu and left unscathed from the fire.

There is another version of the legend, according to which the king was still endowed with eternal life and demanded complete worship of his personality. But even in this story, the son did not worship his father, and the sister of King Kholik supported Prahlada. Therefore, the ruler decided to punish his sister and son for disobedience - to burn them on a sacred fire.

To save his aunt, Prahlada turned to Vishnu, who gave him a sacred colorful scarf. This scarf was considered a gift of all the Gods, they needed to hide Kholik in the fire itself. The prince did so, and he sat down beside his aunt, preparing to die. But when the fire began to spread, the scarf flew off the Holiki and covered Prahlada. This event further strengthened the heir's faith in Vishnu.

After some time, the king received the punishment. When he was near his castle in the evening, God sent deadly lightning to his heart. Thus, evil was punished, and justice was restored.

Holiday customs

Most of all they honor this tradition in the north of India.

A few days before the start of the Holi festival in India, they paint the walls of houses, place many flower arrangements in the premises, acquire powder, dyes and special sprayers.

Two weeks before the festival, preparations are underway for it at the city level - artists who collect funds for the event perform, prepare firewood and brushwood for the festive bonfire.

The bonfire itself, on which the Holiki stuffed the scarecrow, is made already at night. After this, livestock are drawn through the fire, and then they are forced to walk on the remaining coals. The Indians themselves walk on them. By this, the participants of the festival show their courage and courage. Residents of India believe that ash brings good luck, and the smoke from the fire dispels all that bad that has accumulated over the winter. Not only firewood is thrown into the fire, but also fruits, vegetables, flowers, grain and other offerings to deities.

The festival is held with a huge number of songs, dances, playing national musical instruments and unbridled fun. Participants throw colored powders at each other. They are obtained from finely ground corn painted in different colors.

The traditional drink of the Holi festival is tandai with bhang. It is made from milk (or dairy products) and juice (or hemp foliage).

On this night, the Indians ride the statues of different gods on a swing, showing them their reverence.

This holiday is especially appealing to children, because it is on this day that they are allowed any pranks. But adults, who worked and raised children throughout the year, are not averse to taking a break from the soul.

It is necessary to put on those things at the festival that it will not be a pity to throw away after the holiday, as it is likely that the paint will not be removed.

As soon as the festival ends, people start visiting each other, taking fruits and vegetables as refreshments. Girls receive gifts from fans, and husbands present presents to their wives on this day in the form of a beautiful dress. The holiday usually ends on the third day.

Video taken from open source from YouTube on Travel Channel - Mania

Beautiful legends

Not only is the history of the holiday connected with the name of the unfortunate Holika, the legend of Krishna and his beloved Radha is also famous. The young god was so blinded by the beauty of a simple mortal girl that he wanted to be with her. However, the chosen one was afraid of Krishna, because outwardly he did not look like a person. The decision to the upset god was prompted by his mother - the powerful Yashoda. She convinced her son to color her face, using colored powder to please her lover. That is why the festival of colors does not do without colored powder, which people smear from head to toe.

The legend of Kamadev is also related to the spring celebration. This god, revered as the patron saint of lovers, once angered Shiva. As punishment for the misconduct, Shiva incinerated the disrespectful god, making him incorporeal. Admirers of Kamadeva began to pray the many-armed deity to return the punished body. Shiva fulfilled their request only partially; Kamadev began to regain his former appearance only for three months. At this time, flowers and trees come to life, love rules the world. It is this legend that gives an answer to the question of what time of the year Holi is dedicated to. Of course, the celebration allows people to greet the spring.

Holiday and regions

The attitude of the Hindus towards colorful celebration depends on which region of the country they live in. The Holi Spring Festival is most respected in the northern part of the state. In the days of its holding, an abundance of multi-colored jewelry (pink, white, red, purple) is striking; they hang literally everywhere. The walls of buildings also acquire vivid colors; floral bouquets are found everywhere. Dyes are purchased in incredible quantities, stocked up by "northerners" and special spray guns, some design them with their own hands.

The most devoted Holi fans flock to the city of Vrindavan, where, according to tradition, Krishna was born. Festivities do not end within a few days.

Respect for the celebration is not shown by all people living in India. Holi festival in the south of the country is celebrated on a smaller scale, mainly boys and girls participate in entertainment. Mothers and fathers present gifts to children on this day. In the central part of the country, it is customary to decorate houses with orange flags that symbolize the fire element.


There are various versions of the origin of the holiday, which is associated with different regions of India. The most ancient and famous version is the Hindu myth of how Shiva burned Kama with his gaze. In addition, in northern India, the tradition of celebration is associated with the legends of Krsna and his pastimes with the gopis. Nevertheless, it is most often believed that the holiday has its roots in the Hindu myth of the opponent of Vishnu - the demoness of Kholika (English) Russian. whose name is directly related to the name of the holiday and whose scarecrow is burned at the bonfire (Eng.) Russian. .


The festival falls at the beginning of spring and lasts two or three days in late February - early March. In the Hindu calendar, Holi usually falls on the full moon (known in Hindi as Phalgun Purnima or Pornmashi). On the first day of the festival, closer to night, a fire is made to burn a huge scarecrow or decorated tree, symbolizing the burning of the Kholiki, and cattle are also driven through fire and walking on coals. On the second day, known as Dhalundi, and the third day, the participants of the festival staged a procession before dusk, showering each other with colored powder, pouring water on tinted mud and mud. The ritual of the holiday contains orgiastic elements.

Preparation for the celebration

It is customary to prepare for this large-scale event a few weeks before its start. The greatest enthusiasm, of course, is demonstrated by young people who scour the surroundings, collecting combustible materials with which you can make bonfires. Curiously, the theft of such material from the Indians is considered an achievement that can be proud of.

Of course, people stock up with paints that can be doused with each other during the holiday. They are made from dyes that are harmless to the skin, and cornmeal. Most Indians purchase these paints in stores, some prefer to create them on their own.

Fiery night

Holi is a holiday in India, the date of which is selected depending on when the full moon will be. The event begins with the onset of the evening, the main event - the fire of a stuffed insidious girl Holika. The fires of bonfires not only help keep warm, but also drive away evil spirits who triumphed in the winter. Not only stuffed animals are burned in bonfires, but also fruits, grain, flowers and other offerings of the Hindus to the fiery god. Not without ritual round dances, dances, singing, playing musical instruments. Desperate daredevils jump over burning bonfires, step on hot coals, demonstrating their courage.

Particular attention is paid to dancing, with their help reproducing the picture of how Krishna flirts with the young beauties. Boys and girls not only dance, but also carefully dye each other with tinted water, competing in who will leave more paint on the body of the “victim”. Bhang is also drunk, a traditional holiday drink made from hemp juice, sugar and dairy products. Indians do not forget their many gods, whose statuettes it is customary to rock on a swing that night.

Continuation of the holiday

The history of Holi says that for several centuries, festivities connected with it have been going on for several days. After a fiery night, the inhabitants of the country visit friends and relatives who offer them treat themselves to fruits and sweets. Girls receive gifts from fans, husbands present beautiful dresses to their wives. During the festivities, the inhabitants and guests of India scatter colored powder everywhere, throwing it into the air. This action symbolizes the dispersal of adversity, new hopes. Everything around becomes colorful.

Holi festival is loved by children, since during it they are allowed any pranks. Fun adults do not hold back, regardless of age indulging in exciting children's games. The event should not be attended by stiff people who do not know how to relax, as well as those who worry about their clothes. It is highly likely that the paint does not peel off. It is not surprising that “experienced” holiday visitors prefer to wear clothes that can then simply be thrown away.

The end of the holiday

All good things come to an end, including the Holi festival. At about 16 o’clock on the third day, the Indians left the streets full of different colors, returning to their homes. Those who managed to have fun from the heart are waiting for the soon fulfillment of their cherished desires expressed during the celebration. Sometimes it takes several hours to wash off the paint, but the pleasure experienced is worth such an effort.

This is how Holi is celebrated in India. Then the Indians return to workdays, recharged with energy for a whole year, properly prepared for the spring.

Holiday analogs

The festival of colors can also be found in European countries, whose inhabitants gladly adopted this wonderful tradition from the Indians. For example, in England the holiday has been celebrated since 2013, a year earlier it began to be held in Germany and the Netherlands. The reason for the holiday is the same as in India - the greeting of spring, farewell to the disgusting winter.

It is not at all necessary to visit other countries to attend the Holi festival. The festival of colors for several years has been successfully held in Russia. Unfortunately, while this event takes place only in Moscow and St. Petersburg. However, soon the holiday will be celebrated in 10 more large cities of the state.