When is the festival of colors in India
India has given the world many holidays, among which the Holi festival has become the most beloved, and its history begins with the emergence of the Indian state.
Mentions of Holi can be found even in ancient writings. From the beginning, the festival was a special sacred ritual whereby all married women praised the moon in order to attract good luck to their families. It also marks the arrival of spring.
Holi is celebrated at the beginning of March and always on the full moon. The whole action lasts exactly two days. In the coming years, the Holly festival will take place:
- 2018 – March 2-3
- 2019 – March 21-22
- 2020 – March 10-11
- 2021 – March 29-30
- 2021 – March 18-19.
The festival is dedicated to the god of fertility.
Holi is known and loved not only in India but also in Nepal, Bangladesh, and in many European countries.
In recent years, the festival has reached Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. It is also held in the spring, on a day when it’s very warm outside, and is simply called a festival of colors. It comes to the fact that such festivals are held not only in spring, but also in summer.
History of the festival
It is difficult to say when and by whom the festival Holi was invented. The whole history goes back to the distant past. As multifaceted as India, so is special holiday. Each province holds it in its own way. The most colorful festivities are in the north-west, but the south can no longer boast of opulence. Surprisingly, in every state in India, on this day celebrating completely different gods.
Exact history of Holi is not available, but preserved legends that may have preceded its emergence.
One of them tells of Vishnu, who bestowed each class with a special holiday. He gave Holi to the Shudras, that is, servants and landowners. But over time the holiday began to be carried out everywhere, because most of all liked the Indians. This is understandable, because all the other celebrations were celebrated with certain restrictions, but Holi from the beginning was a holiday for all the people.
There are no religious rituals and processions on this day, so everyone can join the festivities, regardless of faith. According to legend, during the celebration of Holi, all enemies are reconciled for a time.
The legend of Holiq.
Another legend says that the holiday got its name from the demoness Holika. In those days, the evil Hiranyakashipu reigned, who did not like his son worshipping Vishnu at all. He tried in every way to dissuade him, but it was beyond his power.
Then the king’s sister Holika, who according to legend could not be burned, stepped in the fight. She invited her nephew to climb with her to the bonfire in honor of God, and he agreed. Interestingly, Holika burned, but the young man was saved by Vishnu and came out of the flames unharmed.
This is how one of the many traditions came about: burning an effigy of Holika. Many villages even wrestle to obtain items taken from it.
The effigy is made of straw, which is also thrown into the fire, which represents the harvest of the year. In some Indian areas it is customary to burn the decorated tree.
A few weeks before Holi, the base of the future bonfire is set up in the village. As a rule, this is the trunk of the Acacia babul, the dirtiest tree for Hindus. It is decorated in advance with colorful ribbons.
On the day of Holi, the local population massages themselves with a special composition made of mustard and turmeric. After curing on the body, it is removed and the pieces are thrown into the flames. According to tradition, this ritual is associated with the remission of sins, and also helps to cope with skin diseases.
The fire is always lit at one particular time. Special calculations are made, by which the best hours are deduced. Most often, the fire is started late in the evening.
After the fire, the Indians bypass the flames 5 times. According to the rites, to make the harvest even better, they burn a few ears of wheat or other grain. Children roast green peas or potatoes in the flames of the fire for a snack.
The Legend of Kamadeva
There is a legend about Kamadeva, the god of love, who was incinerated by Shiva’s gaze. This happened because Kama was trying to get the great god out of meditation. The wife of the love god asked for leniency, and Shiva took pity and returned Kama to his physical form for exactly three months of the year. Since then the festival of Holi has been celebrated in honor of her happy return.
Legend has it that when Kama comes back to life, all nature begins to bloom and fragrance, and people celebrate the triumph of love. With this legend and went the tradition, doused with water and throwing colored paint.
How the holiday is celebrated
Preparations for Holi begins a month in advance. There are small celebrations, religious processions, games. Also gather all the components of the future fire.
And so, on the festive evening, the bonfire is lit and Holika is driven away. Next, people just relax, have fun, and roast goodies.
Local bands perform musical numbers on a kind of stage.
The second day of the holiday is considered the most memorable, because traditionally all Indians begin to sprinkle each other with colored powder gulal, which is prepared from flour, painted in bright colors. In those days, only natural ingredients were used, but today some manufacturers use artificial dyes.
The sprinkling begins with the head of the family, who “colors” each household member.
The same ritual is then done by the remaining members of the family. You can see that this day is celebrated not only people but also animals, which are also generously sprinkled with paint.
Holi is most interestingly celebrated in Gajurat, where in addition to the standard customs and rituals, the game “Break the Pot” is held. Young men stand in a huge pyramid, and the one who is at the top tries to break the hanging vessel with his head. This pastime has distant roots related to Krishna, who as a child tried to steal oil in the same way.
The festival ends very abruptly. The streets are abruptly empty, and tired but happy Indians go home to bathe. Some go to wash off the paint on the river. In the south of the country, people go to a body of water to make offerings to the gods. As a rule, fruit is thrown into the river.
After the washed up Indians go to visit to congratulate their relatives and friends on the end of Holi. That’s where it ends and the work week begins.
Holi festival of colors (Holi)
Holi is one of the most colorful holidays. Paint festivals are organized all over the world. But not many people know where the birthplace of this celebration is. Holi has an interesting history associated with the legends, traditions and ancient culture.
Holi Color Festival Dancing
Read more about the holiday
Holi is an ancient traditional holiday celebrated every year by the people of India. Participants in the celebration greet spring with cheerfulness, colors, and say goodbye to winter. Three days of celebration fall in March and mark the beginning of a new life. Holi is mentioned even in the Vedas – a collection of ancient scriptures of Hinduism.
IT’S INTERESTING. In Slavic culture there is a similar celebration of the arrival of spring – Maslenitsa. Like Holi, it is accompanied by fun, burning a scarecrow, jumping over the fire, saying goodbye to winter.
Holi Color Festival
Legends about the origins of the celebration
The first mention of Holi dates back to 300 BC. Therefore, there are many legends about the appearance of the holiday. The first version is associated with the exile of a witch. According to the legend, the sister of King Hiranyakashipu Holika wanted to kill his son and his nephew. The woman lured the young man into the fire, but he survived. And the perpetrator died, though she was not afraid of the scorching heat. On the days of celebration, the people of India build a bonfire to burn her effigy. This symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The heroine of the second legend is the same Holika. She was a good woman and wanted to save a young man named Prahlada, against whom his father was angry. The king decided to incinerate them both. A brightly colored handkerchief, given by the gods, saved the young man, and Holika perished. After her death Prahlada believed in the god Vishnu, who struck the evil king’s heart with lightning. Since then, every year, people sprinkle each other with the colors of the magic shawl as a sign of saving life. The sprinkling of water at the festival symbolizes victory over fire and evil.
The third belief has to do with spring and blossom. The god of love, Kama, lost his body to the wrath of Shiva. But he was allowed only three months a year to regain his form. During this time, all the trees around begin to blossom and the cities become bright and luminous. To welcome Kama, the people of India decorate everything around with colored ribbons and sprinkle colors.
Illustration of the legend of the origin of the holiday
How Holi is celebrated
The celebration of Holi is associated with customs and traditions that are observed year after year. The festive part of the mesmerizing spectacle and brightness. But no less interesting and preparation for the festival.
Preparing for the festival
Preparing for the upcoming Holi days is a ritual for Hindus. They set the mood, giving the cities brightness. What the people of India do:
- Prepare or buy paints of basic colors. The most sincere fans of the festival make the blanks themselves at home.
- Decorate the city, housing with brightly colored figures, drawings.
- They look for items that are suitable for burning. Make a stuffed witch.
THIS IS INTERESTING. The natural paint for Holi consists of cornmeal.
Traditional festivities with dancing and music
How to have fun at the festival
The festivities begin the evening before the new moon. What Hindus do:
- They burn effigies of Holika or the tree that represents her. They also throw fruits and vegetables into the fire as payment to the god of fire for ridding the world of the evil spirit.
- They jump over the fire, walk over the coals to cleanse the body of negativity.
- They dance, throw water on each other, and ride swings.
On subsequent days of the holiday, Hindus give each other gifts, go visiting. Residents of towns and villages have fun, sprinkling colored powder on each other and on animals.
How to celebrate the festival of colors “Holi” in India
The end of the festival
The third day of the festival in India is the final day. Everyone goes home to spend time with family and rest before work. And there is also the task of washing off the paint and removing the decorations from the houses. In the cities, the cleaning begins.
What to eat during Holi
All countries have traditional dishes that are associated with Christmas, the New Year, and Easter. In India, people also prepare drinks, sweets, second and first courses for the three days of Holi. What treats welcome spring:
- Gujiya, a puff pastry sweet enjoyed by residents of northern Indian cities. Favorite dried fruits are used as a filling. They are made in the shape of a crescent. These puffs taste juicy and lusciously sweet.
- Tandai is a smoothie that you can eat. Hindus mix milk with spices and seeds. The result is a spicy sweet mixture.
- Laddu is made from nuts. They are mixed with sugar and roasted until caramelized. Other ingredients added are coconut chips, dried fruit. Roll the mixture into balls the size of walnuts. For flavor, add saffron.
- Malpua is Indian holiday pancakes on boiled milk. The dish is garnished with pistachios and flavored with cardamom.
- Dahi Wada – lentil dumplings in a curd sauce.
When cooking traditional dishes, hostesses use the colors of Holi. They are pink, yellow, and green. Jams are added to baked goods in appropriate shades.
On Holi cook sweet Laddu
Features of the celebration in different regions of India
In all cities of India, residents rush to celebrate the arrival of spring, visit the festival and prepare traditional treats. But each region has its own peculiarities of celebration. The main differences are:
- Central cities are decorated with lights on the dates of welcoming spring. Hundreds of rooftops become bright and glowing. Residents place flags and small lanterns on houses.
- In the south, children and young people have fun. Grandparents choose to rest quietly, visiting neighbors and friends. The little ones get little presents in the form of sweets in the morning.
- Northern cities become colorful, bright. Residents decorate everything available with ribbons and bunches of flowers.
THIS IS INTERESTING. Sometimes two weeks before the festival of colors on the streets of the cities begin to collect money for the organization of the festival.
Holi celebration in Russia and other countries
Bright festival happily held in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan. Most often the colorful party is held on city days, public holidays and other important dates. There are fans of colors in Great Britain, the United States, Cuba, and southern Africa. Orthodox and Catholics go to the festival for fun and are often unaware of its origins and meaning in their home country. It is an excuse to get away from everyday life, work problems, and other turmoil. But church representatives have a negative attitude toward the colorful event. In Russia, clergy and religious activists at the festival distributed leaflets with agitation. Orthodox priests regularly warn Russians that this pagan ritual can harm their health.
Date in 2021
The peculiarity of the festival is the floating date. Holi symbolizes the beginning of spring and the end of the winter season, so it is celebrated in Phalgunu, the last 12th month of the year according to the unified national calendar of India. It corresponds to February-March according to the Gregorian time system. The festival begins on the last day of the full moon. For Hindus, this phase of the moon means the beginning of something new. This is also the time when unclean powers appear to people. Therefore, the celebration begins with the exorcism of spirits by fire and continues for 2 more days. Celebration dates:
- 2021 – March 28;
- 2022 – March 18;
- 2023 – March 7;
- 2024 – March 25.
In the last 7 years, the earliest celebration date has been March 2. That was in 2018.
THIS IS INTERESTING. The steps of the temples become the center of the celebration, but you can get caught in the rain of colors anywhere in the city.
How Holi is celebrated in other countries
Tips for tourists
Tourists should be prepared for a colorful encounter in an Indian city if flying there in March. To avoid unpleasant consequences, it is worth considering some nuances. Locals during the festival:
- Do not wear their best outfits. Artificial or natural dyes are difficult to wash off. With a T-shirt or jeans after Holi can say goodbye.
- Go outside wearing hats so as not to get all their hair dirty.
- Leave pets at home so they don’t have to wash off the powder as well.
- Protect their eyes with goggles.
- Wash soiled clothes after the holiday with cold water.
- Open areas of the body smeared with a greasy cream.
Tourists may be surprised by the unexpected end to the dancing and fun. Everything ends like a snap of the fingers. Once the festival is over, all the residents go home.
For the festival wear closed clothes.
THIS IS INTERESTING. During the festival, people in India drink and hand out a special drink that contains some cannabis.