Excited to celebrate Spring in the Northern Hemisphere? Millions of people worldwide will be welcoming the beginning of the wonderful time of Holi, also called the Festival of Colors.
Holi is an important festival for many people around the world, especially in Southeast Asia. To many, the celebration ushers in the new year, as well as giving people the opportunity to express themselves, renew relationships and put old grudges to rest.
If you’re interested in attending a Holi celebration, Western Union is here to help with a quick and handy guide of everything you need to know about the festival.
When is Holi celebrated?
Holi is generally celebrated the day after the full moon in March each year. This year, in India, the Holi Festival will take place on March 24, 2016; however, the festival takes place a day earlier in West Bengal and Odisha. In other parts of the world, Holi is celebrated on various days throughout the Spring months, even going as late as the end of April for the Holi Hai Festival in New York City.
What is the history of Holi?
The Holi Festival was originally identified as a celebration of agriculture, fertile land and fruitful spring harvests. Its religious origins start with the story of Holika dahan, which signifies the victory of good over evil. Other origin stories of Holi reference Krishna, who was called the king of the ancient city of Dwarka. He used to play fun games by throwing water and colors, and the cultural tradition spread throughout the years. Regardless of how it all began or where you heard the story, the occasion is one that is ripe with culture and tradition!
How is Holi celebrated?
Holi begins the night before with what is called the Holika bonfire, where groups of people will sing and dance to the drums, or dholaks.
Holi celebrations last three full days and, unsurprisingly, are full of color! Men, women and children alike will carry and throw powders and liquid colors all over their family and friends. Don’t worry; the Holi powder is completely safe. It’s made of non-toxic and allergy-free ingredients, so it’s not harmful to you or the environment.
The most popular colors are the brightest, while the colors of black and white do not typically appear. Each color means something different, which is what makes Holi so much fun!
Colorful and Delicious
After the fun and excitement, it’s time to eat and drink some of the delicious delicacies of the occasion. One of these treats is called Puran Poli, a sweet flatbread made with a tasty dal stuffing. If you’re thirsty, try making your own Thandai, a refreshing and healthy drink that is perfect for hydrating after all of the fun you’ve had throwing colors.
These few days are full of family, love and fun. If you are celebrating Holi this year, make sure to give someone a hug and wish him or her a “Happy Holi!” How are you celebrating the Holi Festival in 2016?