Amazing Pictures of Holi, the Festival of Colors
Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, has gained worldwide attention in the past decades. It is now one of India's most famous festivals — and certainly one of the world's most unique and fun.
Whether you're a Holi veteran or have never heard of the celebration before, you'll enjoy these stunning pictures, which capture the joyful chaos of this incredible festival.
Holi Celebrates the Arrival of Spring
Seen as a symbol of the triumph of good over evil, Holi is primarily a celebration of spring and the renewal of life.
It Usually Falls Between February and March
Holi is celebrated on the full moon in the month of Phalguna on the Hindu calendar. This is why its date in the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year.
It Has Been Celebrated for Over a Thousand Years
Since the fourth century to be exact!
Holi Is Mainly Celebrated in the Indian Subcontinent
India and Nepal are where Holi festivals have the most cultural importance. Hindu communities in Bangladesh and Pakistan also celebrate it.
But It Is Now Celebrated Around the World
Immigrants from the Indian subcontinent have brought the festival to their communities in other countries.
There are now yearly celebrations in many countries, including the U.S. and the U.K.
Large Pyres Are Burned on the Eve of the Celebration
This symbolizes the burning and keeping away of evil spirits.
One version of the legend states that Holika, the evil daughter of an evil ruler, was burned in a pyre while her devoted brother, Prahlad, was saved from it by Lord Vishnu.
The festival is named after Holika.
And Some Priests Walk on Fire
Because of the legend, priests are said to have been walking through fire for hundreds of years to prove they are an incarnation of Prahlad and therefore blessed.
The Festival Has a Different Meaning in Other Regions
In West Bengal and Odisha, the celebration is said to be a commemoration of the day Lord Krishna expressed his love for Radha, his consort and goddess of love.
Holi Is Celebrated by Splashing Color Everywhere
Entire communities gather for a festive and colorful powder fight. Everyone on the street throws colored powder at each other, as well as water, often filled with colorant.
The result is a visual feast of different tones and hues.
The Tradition of Throwing Colors Comes From Lord Krishna
A reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna was said to play pranks on village girls by throwing water and colored powder on them.
The Colors Are Not Random
The colors used during the festival are not just pretty. They have different meanings that are deeply tied to Indian and Hindu culture.
Blue Is for Lord Krishna
One of the most important gods in Hinduism, Lord Krishna is revered throughout the country.
Lord Krishna's skin is blue, which is why the color tends to be associated with the deity.
Yellow Represents Happiness
Yellow is a cheerful color, so in Hinduism and during Holi it represents good health and happiness.
It is also the color of Lord Vishnu.
Green Symbolizes New Beginnings
As in many places around the world, green used during Holi symbolizes the start of new things, prosperity and harvest.
Given that Holi is a spring festival, green tends to be a popular color to use.
Red Symbolizes Love
Red in Hinduism is the color of beauty and marriage, which is why it is often used in wedding dresses.
It also tends to be the most used color at Holi festivals.
The Powders Were Originally Made From Flowers
Synthetic colors were not around back in the fourth century, so people would make powders for Holi with the flowers and herbs that naturally grew in their area.
As synthetic colors have become widespread, so have new colors that were not used in Holi originally.
Uttar Pradesh Holds Some of the Biggest Holi Celebrations
This state is believed to be where Lord Krishna grew up, so its inhabitants are devoted to celebrating this holiday in his honor.
Some celebrations extend over a week.
But Rajasthan Is Also Popular
Particularly in the beautiful pink city of Jaipur, which is already gorgeously colorful.
Kids Have Been Known to Start Early
As can be expected, kids usually begin getting ready for Holi by splashing people on the street with water guns and balloons weeks earlier.
No one can blame them.
Holi Is Not Just for the Hindu Community
Although the festival is rooted in Hinduism, most, if not all, religious communities in India celebrate it.
Caste and Age Are Also Set Aside
Hindu society is usually strictly divided into castes, or social classes, and younger people are expected to respect their elders.
During Holi, people of all ages and castes play together.
Feasting Is Part of the Festivities
As with most festivals around the world, food is an important component of Holi.
After being drenched in color, families and communities gather together to share large meals in celebration.
Dhuska Is Often the Meal Used for Breakfast
To prepare for a day of powder and water fights, people in India, particularly in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar, eat dhuska, a popular food made of ground rice and lentil batter.
It is fried and hearty and helps people stock up on energy until the next meal.
Dahi Vada Is Another Popular Holi Meal
Dahi vada are fried lentil balls that are soaked in creamy yogurt/curd.
They are delicious and can be found throughout the country during Holi, though it is called dahi bhalla in the north.
And for Dessert, Barfi
This popular dessert is not just for Holi, but is commonly served during celebrations.
It is made with condensed milk.
Bhang Is Mixed Into Everything
Made with cannabis leaves, the intoxicating mixture is put into drinks, food and desserts.
'Do Not Mind, It’s Holi!'
Or "Bura na mano, Holi hai!" is a popular saying during the festival. It’s meant to convey the spirit of fun and being free of worry that is tied to Holi.
The Colors Never Come Out
If you ever have the amazing chance to celebrate Holi, just make sure you wear clothes that you won't mind throwing away, since the colors will not come off.
And You Might Have to Wash Your Hair Multiple Times
Experts advise that you put oil on your hair and skin before going out into the street. This helps prevent the powder from setting into your hair and skin too much.
But It’s Absolutely Worth It!
Sticky hair and clothes seem like trivial prices for getting to experience one of the most unique religious celebrations in the world.
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