Holi Festival - Know What, When, Why, and How to Celebrate Holi

Holi Festival

When is Holi Festival Celebrated?

Holi Festival 2023 Date

Wednesday, 8th March, 2023

Holi Festival is celebrated according to the lunar Hindu calendar on the day Krishna Pratipada of Chaitra Month. It generally falls at the end of the winter season in India, around the full moon (Phalguna Purnima) usually comes in the month of March.

What is Holi?

Holi is a festival that is mostly celebrated by Hindu Community in India and throughout the world. In the Indian subcontinent, it has been marked for decades, with poems recording festivities dating back to the 4th century CE.

After a long winter, it represents the beginning of spring, symbolizing good over evil. The Holi Festival is observed mainly by Hindus. The festival is a very inclusive one, as solidarity is one of the festival’s key themes.

So, while this Festival is rooted in Hinduism’s tradition, it is also celebrated worldwide. It brings people together and encourages them, feeling unified in one huge vibrant group, to throw away their inhibitions.

Participants throw powder dye ( ‘Gulal’ ) into the air during this Festival, coating those in attendance with bright colours. The colours are rich with symbolism and have many meanings in a religious sense.

They indicate a colourful new life and even reflect sin in a way. For others, washing off the dye can mean new devotion to living well, such as cleansing oneself of evils and demons.

You might be also like to check other Hindu Festivals celebrates in India.

Why is Holi Festival Celebrated?

Holi Festival is celebrated in India as a national festival and its have lots of historical significance as well. According to a belief, the Holi Festival was initially a ritual for married women to spread their new family’s wealth and goodwill.

The festival has since grown to include much more than that. The celebration of the triumph of good over evil is a significant subject of this Festival.

History of Holi Festival

First Legend behind Holi Festival

In ancient India, Hiranyakashipu was a king who was like a demon. He decided to take revenge for his younger brother’s death, killed by Lord Vishnu.

So, the King prayed for years to win strength. Finally, he got a boon. But with this, Hiranyakashipu began to regard himself as God, asking his people to worship him as God.

The cruel King Hiranyakashipu had a young son called Prahalad, who was Lord Vishnu’s great devotee. Never had Prahalad obeyed the order of his father and proceeded to worship Lord Vishnu.

The King had been so hard-hearted that he wanted to kill his son because he had refused to worship him. He asked his sister, Holika, who was immune to flames, to sit with Prahalad on a fire pyre in her lap. Their plan was for Prahalad to get burned.

But their strategy did not go through as Prahalad was safe throughout, reciting Lord Vishnu’s name, but Holika got burnt to the ashes. Holika’s loss represents the burning of everything evil. Lord Vishnu killed Hiranyakashipu after this.

Holika’s death is synonymous with Holi and is known as Holika Dahan

Second Legend behind Holi Festival

According to another legend, after Putana, a demon poisoned Lord Krishna with her breast milk, Lord Krishna grew a characteristic blue skin colour. Krishna wondered whether the fair-skinned Radha and her companions would ever like him because of his skin colour. Krishna’s mother asked to approach Radha and smear her face with any colour he wanted.

Lord Krishna diffused colour on the face of Radha for her fair complexion, for this reason every year people spread colour one to another.The playful colouring gradually emerged as a tradition and later, in India’s Braj area, it is celebrated as a festival.

Ancient Indian temples have sculptures of Holi on the walls. One of these is a 16th-century temple in Hampi, Vijayanagar’s capital. The temple has many scenes sculpted on its walls that depict princes and princesses and their maids carrying pichkaris to squirt royal water.

How is Holi Festival Celebrated?

Most Indian states have a way of celebrating Holi on their own. The festival starts with the Holika bonfire also known as ‘Holika Dahan’. Around the bonfire, people gather, sing and dance, and pray for their loved ones’ wellbeing. The bonfire method is the same everywhere.

Next day starts early in the morning, where people are free to play with colours. Participants use dry powder ‘Gulal’ and coloured water to play, chase and paint each other, with some holding water guns and coloured water-filled balloons for their war against water. In a colourful and cheerful environment, this celebration follows songs and dance.

To throw colours on each other, people visit family and friends; laugh and chit-chat, then share delicacies, i.e. food and drinks. To enjoy the day, Bhang is blended into drinks and sweets and eaten by many.

By combining the leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plant, Bhang gets prepared. People consume Bhang as a beverage during this festival since ancient times. When the party ends in the evening, everybody sobs and returns to their duties.

In most parts of India, Holi Festival marks for three days.

Day One of Holi –

Coloured powder and water are kept on full moon day (Holi Purnima) in small brass pots on a thali. The celebration starts with the eldest male member, who sprinkles his family members with colour.

Day Two of Holi –

This is known as ‘Puno’ as well. The presentment of Holika get burned on this day, and people also light bonfires to remember the tale of Holika and Prahalad. To receive the blessing of the God of fire, mothers with their babies take five rounds of the bonfire in a clockwise direction.

Day Three of Holi

This day refers to as ‘Parva’, and this is the last day of the celebrations of this festival. Coloured powder and water get poured on each other on this day. Radha and Krishna deities are adored and smeared with colours.

Holi Festival Preparation

The admirer starts collecting wood and inflammable ingredients for the bonfire in various open places. They make an adore with pyre and the top of the pyre there is a presentment of Holika.

The burning of the effigy signifies the destruction of evils. On this day the whole country looks like a canvas of colour. Inside the house, women cook delicious food. Children and young people dance with drum beat and do party whole day and night.

Food Preparation

For celebrating this festival properly people make various delicious foods and drinks. Let scroll down to know about them.


Holi and gujiya are mixed reciprocally. The first food name of Holi comes to our mind is gujiya. In the different states, it is known differently. In Bihar, it is known as Pedakiya, In Gujrat as Ghughra.


Bhang is one kind of drink that is made of leaves of an Indian hemp plant. Generally, people drink it mixed with thandai, lassi and it is kept as the ingredients in Pakora and Gujiya.


This is also another kind of drink that may refresh your mind. You may also feel free by drinking this.


Kulfi is originated during the Mughal period. This desert is highly tasted on the occasion of the Holi festival.

Holika Dahan Preparation

This subheading can be the another name of the festival. After sunset in the day of holi people start gathering around an effigy of holika under pyre. They burn the pyre by singing and dancing around it. The bonfire signifies the victory of good over evil power.

Playful Holi Preparation

After finishing the part of the bonfire, the next day people come outside and play with colours, they spread colour in the face of one another and in the air. There is no tradition about holding puja.

All classes people especially young generation and children enjoy a lot. Dry colours, water guns, water balloons with colour water are used for playing. Inside the home and at doorways they throw dry powder but outside watercolours are used heavily.

Some people sing and dance with the beat of drum. The entire country in this day looks like a land of colour. This is why this festival is also known as “FESTIVAL OF COLOURS“.

Placid Evening

When the playful festival of colour finish with enjoyment in the evening people exchange fraternalism with each other. They meet with their friends and family and have an exciting day with gossiping, sweet exchanging and greetings. This increases the brotherhood in society. In this way, enemies become friends forever.

Holi Festival Celebration In Different States Of India


In the local Bhojpuri dialect, Holi is Phaguwa. People light bonfires on the evening of Phalgun Poornima. They put into the bonfire dried cow dung cakes, wood from the Araad tree and Holika tree, grains from the fresh harvest and undesirable wood leaves. The next day, with colours and several frolics, the festival is celebrated.


Holi Festival is colloquially known as Rang Panchami or Shimga in Western India, especially in Maharashtra. The Holika Dahan, a traditional practice that includes lighting a firewood pyre on the night before the actual celebrations, are included in the festivities. People celebrate it with wet and dry colours and water the next morning known as Rang Panchami day.


Holi Festival is a two-day celebration in Gujarat. People light a bonfire in the evening and supply the fire with raw coconut and corn. The colour festival or “Dhuleti” is the second day, celebrated by sprinkling coloured water and adding colours to each other.

Uttar Pradesh

Lathmar Holi has a very different approach to this festival, as known in the local language. Women here get armed with lathis, canes intended to strike men and boys during the celebrations playfully.

In exchange, the men come prepared to defend themselves with a dhal, or a shield. The poor men who get captured by women get forced to dress up on female attire and dance streets. All this happens in jest and not aggressively.

Lathmar Holi, mainly celebrated all over Uttar Pradesh, finds its roots in Hindu mythology. Lord Krishna was attempting, to taunt Radhain her village of Barsana, and play Holi with her. Local women were upset and pursued him away with lathis.

West Bengal

This festival is referred here as Basant Utsav or DolJatra. In Bengali, Basant means spring, while Utsav means festival. Women dress predominantly in yellow here, a colour that means abundance.

In a quaint location known as Bolpur, if you want to get the best seats to watch the festivities here, head to Shanti Niketan. This little place is the epicentre of all that the rich Bengali culture portrays.

This festival here is unprecedented to date. There are also recitals of Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry and traditional song & dance services, in addition to the many colours that are often a part of this festival.

It is celebrated the day after Holi as DolJatra. On this day, a grand procession of Lord Krishna, followed by singing and dancing revellers, is carried through the streets of Bengal. It sometimes follows the traditional smearing of colour on the faces of friends, relatives and sometimes even strangers who rejoice.


It is known as Holla Mohalla in Punjab. The day after Holi is observed and is, in truth, a festival to honour the courage of the Sikh Warriors. The festivities, known as the Nihang Sikhs, are characteristic of a specific sect. The celebrations include a comprehensive demonstration of western martial arts, followed later by music and dancing.


A variety knows this festival here of different names which are Baithaki Holi, Mahila Holi, Khadi Holi. Revellers wearing traditional clothing and singing & dancing to folk tunes around the town are part of the festivities.

This gathering of people is known as a Toli, and by smearing colour on each other’s faces and dancing and singing all along, locals welcome each other.

So, here one thing is clear Holi is a festival of enjoyment. People play, eat, sing, dance. The whole country is equipped with colour. Evil is destroyed by good.

Everybody exchanges Holi Wishes with each other. Every year this festival is arranged with elegance, it is also celebrated from generation to generation.

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