Holi – The Hindu Festival of Colours Also Known as the Festival of Sharing Love
Holi is one of the most beautiful festivals around the world that welcomes Spring with bright colors and the warmth of friendship!
It’s Time for Holi!
Holi is one of the most visibly joyful festivals you will ever experience! With people wildly and playfully throwing bright colors at each other, this celebration is a friendly, fun, and beautiful way to welcome in spring. In smaller celebration across the world, Holi usually is a one day experience, but come to India and you can spend 16 days joyously welcoming in the new season.
Each year at the end of the last winter moon cycle, people across the world prepare to celebrate Holi. The festival begins on Purnima Day, or full moon, and Holi is prepared for with the burning of wood, furniture, vegetables, fruits and more all to appease the god Hutashani. Following these sacrifices, the morning of Parva arrives and all around the world are ready to celebrate Holi.
Legend has it that Holi began with the story of Krishna and Radhu. Radhu’s fair complexion made Krishna unhappy with his own skin. Radhu’s mother saw Krishna’s unhappiness and allowed him to pain Radhu’s face with color to even out the balance.
To this day, in Holi celebrations across the globe, friends and family alike “paint” each others’ faces and clothes to ring in the new spring. The Holi festival was born out of a desire to celebrate new life, spring, and the way communities can be united through joyful celebration.
For a few days in India and across the world thousands gather to celebrate Holi, the festival of color. Though this festival lasts between one and sixteen days, many people come for three days. This festival is truly dedicated to the community and has a hospitable and friendly atmosphere as soon as you arrive no matter your race, religion, or anything else.
When you get to Holi, leave your inhibitions at home. This is a time to get to know a new friend, preferably first by splashing them in the face with some paint! The great thing about Holi is that everyone is there to have fun and celebrate together. You’re going to get attacked with color and you are going to attack someone else with color. You can even go to this event by yourself and leave with some new friends of your own, it’s all about opening up your mindset and expanding your social horizons.
If you’re new to India, you may not be familiar with their caste system. Under this system, citizens and community members are split up into groups by class and thusly treated differently depending on which caste they are in. The celebration of Holi is a virtual and visual disintegration of this system: all are covered in color, all are one and united. The love and camaraderie felt at this event is undeniable.
Holi is totally about celebrating Spring but also about spending time getting to know your friends, family, and new friends. Do yourself a favor and read up about various Holi celebrations throughout the world. If you can’t make it to India this year, you may very well want to find a local celebration or celebrate your self with family and friends. Find out the best practices for this holiday so you can have the most authentic Holi possible.
Many that attend this festival are Hindu or Sikhs, but some are not associated with any religion at all. While Holi may indeed be celebrated as a religious holiday, the festival is rich with tradition, history and culture. Do your best to be respectful if you are celebrating on your own or coming to India to visit and celebrate.
You do not have to be religious at all to join in on the celebration and you do not need to be of any specific cultural background at all, you just need to have respect and courtesy for those that do, but try to fully understand the importance of all the cultural and traditional activities that take place during this event.Take some time to immerse yourself in traditions and activities surrounding Holi before you arrive. Doing a fair amount of research before hand will save you from asking disrespectful or ignorant questions while people are trying to have fun.
Preparing for the Festival
When it comes to getting ready for Holi, there isn’t THAT much that you need to prepare for. The key to having an all around uplifting, life changing, and awakening trip is to pack light.
Do wear light colored clothing as the whole point of the color war is have the evidence on your body! Many attendees wear white for the entirety of the festival. If you have white clothing you wouldn’t mind staining forever, definitely pack those!
Check the weather to see how cold India gets during its March nights to help you determine what to take for clothing and warmth. Remember that you will be outside the majority of the time so wear light, comfortable clothing that you can move freely in. Remember that all attendees are there to get to know themselves and each other better so don’t focus that much on your outward appearance.
Tips for Holi
Do keep in mind that you should try to dress relatively modestly, whatever you do choose to wear. Take a look through some of the suggested attire to wear in India and look at pictures of past Holis. Wearing inappropriate clothing to a very holy festival is something you definitely do not want to do. Stay away from skimpy attire and anything that calls too much attention to yourself.
Take note of the kind of color that is being used at the festival. Though it is rare, some people may have allergic reactions to specific color choices. It is traditional to use all natural dies and colors, but in recent times, synthetic alternatives have become more popular. If you can, try to bring your own natural colored powder that is save and FDA approved.
When you are in the throes of color throwing, keep in mind that you should still party safely. No color should ever go into the eyes, mouth or nose of your fellow attendees. Do take care to not injure others as you splash color on each other.
Getting to and Lodging at Holi Festival
While most of the attendees of Holi may live in the area, several do fly in for the event. Make sure your country allows you to fly in to India during Spring, you don’t want to prepare for an adventure that you can’t take! Do be sure to have a current passport as well as it takes months to get a new one.
If you can, try to find people that have made the trip before. It is always great to hear advice from an attendee that has their own personal experience. Do yourself a favor as well and look into getting a travel agent for your trip to India. The last thing you want to do is make the trip and miss out on crucial must see places that you would’ve loved to see if you only knew they existed! A travel agent will also help you get the best deals and packages on tickets, pricing and accommodations across the board.
When it comes to accommodations, many people choose to stay nearby for the entire three days at Holi. If you are staying for the whole celebration, you will find it beneficial to try to find lodging as close as possible. You may be up for well over 24 hours, so make it easier on yourself by finding a hotel within walking distance. Try shopping around for the best deals and take a look at Air BnB as well for a different, and possibly more authentic, lodging experience.
Tickets and Pricing
As Holi grows bigger with every year, so do the crowds at this annual event. Do your best to purchase tickets a few months in advance as they almost always sell out quickly. In addition to festival pricing, book your flights in advance as well as with a few extra days before or after the festival just to rest. Holi is a non-stop celebration, so you don’t want to step off the plane hitting the ground running. In between flying, jet lag and celebrating, you are in store for one incredible journey.
So whether this is your first time to India or you’re a veteran attendee, do your best to make it out to Holi this year!
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