The Holi Festival in India commemorates the victory of good over evil, particularly the burning and destruction of a demon named Holika. This was made possible with the help of the Hindu god of preservation, Lord Vishnu.
Holi received its name as the “Festival of Colors” from the childish antics of Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to joke around with the girls in the village soaking them in water and colors.
In some parts of India, Holi is also celebrated as a spring festival, to give thanks for an abundant harvest season.
When is Holi Festival in India in 2020 calendar
Holi 2020 began on Monday, 9 March and ended on Tuesday, 10 March
When is Holi celebrated?
The day after the full moon in March of each year. The festival takes place a day earlier in West Bengal and Odisha, where it is celebrated as Dol Jatra or Dol Purnima on the same day as Holika Dahan. Also, in some parts of India (like Mathura and Vrindavan ) the festivities start about a week earlier.
Where is Holi celebrated?
Holi celebrations occur throughout India but are more exuberant in some areas than others.
The traditional Holi celebrations are the largest in Mathura and Vrindavan, about three hours from Delhi, where Lord Krishna is believed to have grown up. However, security concerns are a concern for women there, due to the noisy behavior of many local men. Therefore, it is best to travel as part of a guided group tour.
Rajasthan is a popular Holi destination for foreign tourists, particularly places like Pushkar, Jaipur, and Udaipur. Many backpacker hostels host Holi parties for guests there. Rajasthan Tourism also celebrates a special Holi festival in Jaipur.
How is Holi celebrated?
People spend the day smearing colored powders on each other’s faces, throwing colored water at each other, throwing parties, and dancing underwater sprays. Bhang, a paste made from cannabis plants, is also traditionally consumed as part of celebrations.
Special Holi events with music, rain dances, and colors are organized in the great cities of India, particularly in Delhi and Mumbai. It is possible to celebrate Holi with a local Indian family in Delhi and Jaipur through Tripadvisor.
What rituals are performed?
The emphasis of Holi rituals is on burning Holika demons. On the eve of Holi, large bonfires are lit to mark the occasion. This is known as Holika Dahan. In addition to performing a special puja (worship ritual), people sing and dance around the fire, and walk it three times. In some parts of India, people even cross the coals of fire! Such a walking fire is considered sacred. One place where it happens in the village of Saras near Surat in Gujarat.
Holika’s destruction is mentioned in the Hindu text, the Narada Purana. Holika’s brother, the demon king Hiranyakashyap, apparently wanted her to burn her son, Prahlad, because he followed Lord Vishnu and did not worship him. Holika sat with Prahlad in her lap, in the blazing fire, because it was thought that no fire could harm her. However, Prahlad survived because his devotion to Lord Vishnu protected him. Holika was charred to death.
A priest in the village of Falen, near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, says that his village is where Holika’s mythological story really took place. Apparently, local priests have been walking through the raging fire unscathed for hundreds of years. Since they are not hurt, they are considered an incarnation of Prahlad and blessed by him. However, the priest admitted that he undertakes a long period of meditation and preparation before the remarkable feat.
Unlike most other festivals in India, there are no religious rituals that are performed on the main Holi day. It’s just a day for fun!
Like Holi, the Dol Jatra celebrations in West Bengal and Odisha are dedicated to Lord Krishna. However, mythology is different. The festival celebrates the love that Krishna believes he has expressed to Radha that day. The idols of Radha and Krishna are carried in procession on specially decorated palanquins. Devotees take turns balancing them. Idols are also stained with colored powder. Of course, colors are also thrown at people on the streets! The festivities actually start six days earlier, at Phagu Dashami.
What to expect during the celebrations?
Holi is a very carefree festival that is a lot of fun to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. You will end up saturated with water, with color in all your skin and clothes. Some of them do not wash easily, so be sure to wear old clothes. It is also recommended that you rub hair oil or coconut oil on your skin beforehand, to prevent color from being absorbed.
What safety information is required?
Because Holi provides an opportunity to ignore social norms and generally “let go”, men often take it too far and act disrespectfully.
Single women should avoid going out alone in public places during Holi, as drunk young Indians often pose a security threat. These males, who have consumed excessive amounts of bhang and other intoxicants, will inappropriately touch the women and annoy themselves. They are generally in groups and can be very aggressive. Incidents of rape also occur, making it important to be careful during Holi.
If you plan to hit the streets in Holi, do it early in the morning. Return to your hotel before noon before the men get too drunk. Many hotels host special Holi parties for their guests in a safe environment.
Wait for it to rub and throw colored powder and water on your face, mouth, and ears. Keep your mouth shut and protect your eyes as much as possible.