Holi is a fun Hindu festival known as the "Festival of Colours." It usually happens in India and Nepal but has become popular in other places like England, the USA, and Australia. It's a lively celebration that brings people together to play with colours and have a good time.
Holi in 2024 will be celebrated on Monday, March 25th.
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Before Holi, there's a special night called Holika Dahan. This night is essential because it marks the end of winter and the start of spring. People gather around a bonfire to do rituals and get rid of their inner negativity. They collect wood and other burnable stuff to make a big fire. They also put an effigy of Holika on top of the fire.
When the sun sets, everyone comes together, does religious rituals, and lights the bonfire. It's a meaningful way to kick off the vibrant celebrations of Holi.
Holika Dahan happens the day before Holi, and in 2024, it will be on Monday, March 25th.
During Holika Dahan, folks gather around a bonfire at night. They do rituals to show that the fire destroys bad habits or tendencies. The story behind Holika Dahan is about Holika, who was the sister of Hiranyakashyap, the king of demons. She immolated herself, and that's where the tradition comes from.
Holi is a special festival that shows good winning over bad, and it welcomes the arrival of spring while saying goodbye to winter. People also celebrate it as a thank you for a good harvest. The festival goes on for a day and a night.
The first evening is known as Chhoti Holi or Holika Dahana, and the next day is called Rangawali Holi or Phagwa. Holi usually happens during the last full moon of the Phalguna month.
The day after Holika Dahan starts Rangwali Holi. On this day, everyone has a great time by putting colourful powders on each other. It's a way of showing togetherness. Teenagers and kids use coloured powder, water guns, and water balloons to play with their friends. This is the most common way people celebrate Holi worldwide. Music plays loudly, and everyone enjoys the beats of "dholaks."
People throw Holi parties at resorts and clubs, and the most popular spot is often around the pool. People love celebrating in groups, so they book big open areas to make sure lots of folks can enjoy the festival together.
After having fun playing Holi, people wash off the colours from their faces and bodies. They then get dressed up nicely to visit their friends' or relatives' houses. The tradition is to go to their relatives' homes and show respect to the elders by touching their feet and asking for their blessings.
During the celebration, serving yummy food, especially sweets, is a big part. People enjoy treats like gujiya and rasgullas a lot during this festival. There are also snacks like gol gappe or puchkas, dal kachori, kanji vada, chhole bhature, and papri chaat available in food stalls. And, don't forget about "thandai," a special drink that people like to have.
Holi has some special rituals. The night before the festival, there's a big bonfire called Chhoti Holi or Holika. It represents the triumph of good over evil. There's a story behind it. An asur named Hiranyakashyap teamed up with his sister Holika to harm his son Prahlad. But Prahlad was a strong follower of Lord Narayana, and with God's help, he stayed safe. In the end, Holika, the sister, got consumed by the fire.
People from all around the state join in to light the fire. They place a jar of barley seeds under the fire, and when the fire is done, they eat these seeds. The condition of the seeds helps predict the future harvest. The ashes from the fire are considered lucky. On the festival day, people from all walks of life play with coloured water. They also enjoy eating ladoos, gujiya, mathri, and sometimes drink bhang, which includes cannabis.
Holika Dahan Timing: According to Hindu scriptures, lighting bonfires should happen at a specific time after sunset on Purnima Thithi to avoid any negative effects. It's crucial to pick the right moment for Holika Dahan, ideally during the auspicious Pradosh Kaal. There's a special puja to protect children from evil influences.
Dol Purnima (Dol Jatra): In Odisha and West Bengal, Dol Purnima celebrations occur on the full moon day before Holi. People bring idols of Krishna and Radha, and everyone plays with coloured dust, spreading joy on the streets. The festivities kick off six days before Phagu Dashami.
India offers numerous destinations to celebrate Holi holidays in 2024. The best place to experience the Festival of Colors depends on the type of experience you're seeking and your interests. Here are the top five destinations in India for Holi holidays in 2024:
Barsana: Holi is celebrated uniquely in Barsana, which is considered Radha's hometown. It's an ideal place to experience the festival in a special way.
Vrindavan: This destination is perfect for capturing the essence of the festival with its serene celebrations, devotion, and unique customs. The Holi festivities at the Banke Bihari temple are particularly noteworthy, attracting visitors from across India and around the world.
Mathura: Known as the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura is a fantastic destination to celebrate the Festival of Colors. The tradition of playing colours is said to originate from Krishna and Radha's playful interactions. The city, especially the Dwarkadheesh Temple, is a must-visit during Holi.
New Delhi: The capital city of India celebrates Holi in a distinct manner. People organise various parties to enjoy the festival with joy and happiness.
Shantiniketan: In Shantiniketan, Holi is known as Basant Utsava. The city celebrates the festival with an abundance of folk music, song and dance performances, flowers, events, and colours.
Apart from these destinations, India has many other places renowned for their vibrant Holi celebrations.
In 2024, Holi will be celebrated on 25 March, Monday.
Holika Dahan and Holi are the two days of Holi.
Happy Holi is a term people use to wish others on the Holi festival.
Yes, all schools and government offices are closed on Holi.