A Complete Guide to Holi Celebration in India

Holi is the celebration of colors and spring in India. Out of the numerous festivals of the land, Holi is considered as the most vibrant and beautiful celebration. Are you planning to visit India during Holi?

Here is everything that you need to know about the celebration.

Reason behind Holi

During the childhood times of Lord Krishna, he and his friends played many pranks on the villagers. The best of all is drenching the village girls in colored water. Holi is celebrated as the beginning of spring season. This is a spring thanksgiving festival, which focuses on thanking the sun, earth and rain for an abundant harvest.

Holi is also celebrated as a day to remember that Good always prevails over Evil. King Hiranyakashipu ordered his demon sister Holika to kill his son, Prahalad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He intended to destroy the religious belief over Lord Vishnu among his subjects and his son being a devotee was a hurdle for him. Holika, who was immune to fire, invited Prahalad to sit on her lap and set herself on fire. However, at the end, the kid walked out of the pyre without a scratch, while the demon died as she burnt in the fire. This festival indicates the death of evil elements and people create bonfire to indicate the same.


Date of Holi

Holi is usually celebrated on the full moon day, which falls on March or April. In terms of Georgian calendar, the day varies every year. In 2020, the festival falls on March 10th. Each region of the country starts celebrating Holi a few days before the actual festival. For instance, celebrations in Mathura begin a week before. The eve of Holi is celebrated as Holika Dahan in many places.

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Where is Holi Celebrated?

Holi is celebrated throughout the country, especially in the families who pray to Lord Vishnu. In general terms, the North India celebrates the festival with more zeal than the southern India. Top places to visit to enjoy Holi are Mathura, Vrindavan, Hampi, Udaipur, Jaipur, Pushkar, West Bengal, Mumbai, Delhi, and others.

If you are planning to visit India and want to experience the “Festival of Color”. Holi is the major festival of India than travel via the Palace on Wheels luxury train which covers Udaipur in its itinerary.

Some Information of Palace on Wheels

Also Read: 10 Best Places to Celebrate Holi in India in 2020

How is Holi Celebrated?

The prime celebration of Holi is smearing each other with color powder or water. Locals deliberately wear white clothes to get colored. Party of dance, music, and color is conducted in numerous destinations. Bhang, a drink spiked with cannabis is very common during this festival.

As mentioned before, each destination celebrates Holi is a unique manner and for different reasons.

  1. Mathura, Vrindavan, and Hampi – Celebrated as a festival of Lord Krishna with dance, music, and color. Many rituals will be conducted at the temples.
  2. Barsana – Women beat men with large stick. They throw sweets at each other.
  3. Shantiniketan – students take part in cultural performances like dance, music, poetry, drama, and others.
  4. Purulia – festival of folk dance and music.
  5. Punjab – festival of bravery with mock wars, sword fights, poetry about wars, and so on.
  6. Udaipur – a bonfire is created to indicate the defeat of evil. An effigy of Holika is burnt.
  7. Delhi – A festival of dance, music, and color – famous for Holy Moo festival.
  8. Jaipur, Elephant festival – People sprinkle colors on elephants.
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Top Rituals of Holi and the Significance of each Ritual

Bonfire and Burning of Effigy

Burning is associated with death or elimination. During Holika Dahan ritual, people sing and dance around a burning fire. Some communities even conduct fire walking. The aim of fire is to remove sin from soul and to eliminate evil elements from their lives. Fire walking during Holi is very common in Surat of Gujarat. Burning of the effigy of Holika indicates that every evil intention will be punished. This ritual is considered as a moral education for youngsters to avoid evil thoughts.

The Falen Village Mythology

People (priests) of Falen Village in Uttar Pradesh believe that they are the descendants or incarnation of King Prahalad. According to literature, the village is the place where the incident of Holika took place. A large pyre is said to be burning in this village for centuries together. Priests of the land meditate for several days before Holi and walk through the pyre.

Smearing Color

The people of West Bengal and Odisha believe that Holi is the day when Lord Krishna expressed his love to Radha. Upon her acceptance, he celebrated the day by smearing colors at each other. Smearing colors at each other is a symbolization of sharing joy. Processions of idols of Lord Krishna and Radha take place through the streets, as an ultimatum of expressing and sharing joy.

The Safe Holi

Several centuries earlier, people used natural colors to spread the joy and the number of colors was very limited. Today, commercialization has taken over and you can find a spectrum of color powder and none are natural. People smear each other with color powder or water from head to toe. Strangers, elders, kids, and even pets get the same treatment of colors. Thus, it is very important to drench yourself in coconut oil to make sure your skin is safe. It is a tradition to wear white clothes for the color fight, but choose an old white cloth.

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Bhang, a cannabis drink is very common beverage during this festival. Thus, men of many communities will be extremely drunk during the festival. Tourists are recommended to enjoy Holi as a group and avoid any off-road destinations. Many tour providers offer private Holi parties, which are safe, especially for solo female travelers.

Destinations Covered by Palace on Wheels

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