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CELEBRATION. Holi is a  spring  festival celebrated as a festival of colors. It is a Hindu religious festival which has also become popular with people of other communities.

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Holiis a spring festival celebrated as a festival of colors. It is a Hindu religious festival which has also become popular with people of other communities.

It is primarily observed in India and Nepal. It is also observed by the minority Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan as well in countries with large Indicdiaspora populations following Hinduism, such as Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mauritius, and Fiji.

Holi is also known as Phagwah,Festival of Colors, or Doḷajātrain Odisha, and as Dol JatraorBasantotsav inWest Bengal and Assam.

Holi is of particular significance in the Braj region, which includes locations traditionally connected to the Lord Krishna: Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, Uttar Pradesh, and Barsana, which become tourist destinations during the season of Holi.

As per the Hindu calendar, Holi is celebrated on the PhalgunaPurnimawhich comes in February or March in the Gregorian Calendar.


The word "Holi" originated from "Holika" sister of Hiranyakashipu. The festival of Holi is celebrated because of a story in the old Hindu religion. InVaishnavism, Hiranyakashipu is the great king of demons, and he had been granted a boon by Brahma, which made it almost impossible for him to be killed. The boon was due to his long penance, after which he had demanded that he not be killed "during day or night; inside the home or outside, not on earth or in the sky; neither by a man nor an animal; neither by astra nor by shastra". Consequently, he grew arrogant and attacked the Heavens and the Earth. He demanded that people stop worshipping gods and start praising respectfully to him.

Hiranyakashipu, on the lap, being killed by Narasimha, an incarnation of Vishnu

According to this belief, Hiranyakashipu's own son, Prahlada, was a devotee of Vishnu. In spite of several threats from Hiranyakashipu, Prahlada continued offering prayers to Vishnu. He was poisoned by Hiranyakashipu, but the poison turned to nectar in his mouth. He was ordered to be trampled by elephants yet remained unharmed. He was put in a room with hungry, venomous snakes and survived. All of Hiranyakashipu's attempts to kill his son failed. Finally, he ordered young Prahlada to sit on a pyre in the lap of Holika, Hiranyakashipu's demons sister, who also could not die because she had a boon preventing her from being burned by fire. Prahlada readily accepted his father's orders, and prayed to Lord Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, everyone watched in amazement as Holika burnt to death, while Prahlada survived unharmed. The salvation of Prahlada and burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi.

tradition of bhang
Tradition of Bhang

Associated with Lord Shiva, bhang has now become synonymous with holi. To the extent that bhang drinks have now become an official Holi drink.Culled from the leaves and buds of cannabis - the very intoxicating bhang helps to escalate the spirit of holi - a festival which does not recognize any restrictions. Lip smacking thandai, pakoras and vadas, all having bhang as a very essential ingredient, are savored by all on the day. Bhang Preparations in BanarasThe tradition of consuming bhang on holi is particularly rampant in North India where holi itself is celebrated with a gusto unseen anywhere else.But, the hub of bhang is Varanasi or Banaras, the land of Shiva worship, where bhang is prepared on its famous ghats. Anywhere on the ghats one can find large number of men engaged in the process of preparing bhang. Using mortar and a pestle, the buds and leaves of Cannabis are squashed and ground into a green paste. To this mixture milk, ghee, and spices are added. The bhang base is now ready to be made into a nutritious, refreshing drink - Thandai, a healthy alternative to alcohol. Bhang is also mixed with ghee and sugar to make a tasty green halva, and into peppery, chewy little balls called ‘ golees'.

holika dahan
Holika Dahan

On the eve of Holi, called Chhoti or Small Holi people gather at important crossroads and light huge bonfires, the ceremony is called Holika Dahan. This tradition is also followed in Gujarat and Orissa. To render gratefulness to Agni, god of Fire, gram and stalks from the harvest are also offered to Agni with all humility. Ash left from this bonfire is also considered sacred and people apply it on their foreheads.  

indian culture

‘Bhaang and Bollywood’, have an intrinsic relation to Holi, and in 80’s it was trend to shoot minimum one song on Holi in the movie. Gabbar’s famous dialogue of Sholay, ‘Holi, kab hae holi’, went viral on Facebook during the last week.

On 18th September 2009, in an episode of the USA Network series Psych entitled "Bollywood Homicide", Holi is first depicted on an American network television. Color in Motion and Color Me Rad are starting to spread over the United States. They combine the bright colors of Holi with the intensity of a 5 Km race. Runners show up wearing white running outfits and every kilometer they run, they are doused in a different color. In the music video of “The Catalyst”, rock band ‘Linkin Park’ shows band members playing Holi. The videos director, Joe Hahn says, “People collect these pigments throughout the year to release them in this festival as a celebration of life and tribute to Vishnu”.


Holi, one of our staple festivals is celebrated for a larger cause than Toamtina.  It has mythology of the victory of God and Good over the demons and evil.  It also marks taata-a and farewell to winter and welcomes the spring. If anyone of you doesn’t know the heroic poem of Prahlad, Hiranyakashipu and Holika, then you deserve a strong toed kick on your posterior and a admission to the best retard home in the country at Agra.

La Tomatina , is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain. It’s the 'World's Biggest Food Fight' where more than hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. The week-long festival features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. The fight is preceded by dropping of a ham piece from a greasy pole and a water canon shot which marks the alpha of the combat.