Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival honoring Spring. Also known as Festival of Colors or Festival of Love, the celebration is very popular throughout India, Nepal and Southeast Asia. It’s becoming increasingly popular in Europe and North America as a rite of winter passage into Spring and an opportunity to play, dance and celebrate during the final days of winter. Holi is a little bit of Valentine’s Day mixed with the multicultural primal pagan roots of Easter.
Holi is celebrated in conjunction with the vernal equinox on the “Phalguna Purnima” (Full Moon usually in March). It symbolizes the victory of good (Spring) over evil (Winter); the end of the cold dead of Winter; the arrival of the blooming fertility of Spring; and a communal celebration of cheer and laughter. It’s a time to forget troubles, forgive grievances and play without regard to age or social status. Holi celebrates hope.
Festivities include the night-before bonfires (Holidas) around which family and friends gather to drum, sing and dance. Special foods are served with intoxicating beverages (bhang) and desserts. The next morning witnesses a liberal playful time of literally throwing multi-colored dried powders on each other, water fights to run the colors, water balloon fun and dancing.
I’ve never been to India but visiting during Holi seems like a really festive time to go.