The Hindu festival of Holi in India is undoubtedly the country’s most vibrant; and outside India, probably the best known.
Although now celebrated in many places around the world, Holi is best experienced in its country of origin, but just being in India at the right time won’t guarantee you will find what you are looking for.
Here is our guide to the significance of Holi, the best places to go for the most spectacular events and also how to have the safest and most enjoyable time possible.
Festive of Love and Colour
Holi, the ‘Festival of Colours’ and also the ‘Festival of Love’, and one of the most lively, enjoyable and eagerly-anticipated Festivals in India. It is a time to meet friends, to play and laugh, to forgive and forget, and to repair broken relationships.
The celebration commemorates the victory of good over evil and marks the end of Winter and the arrival of Spring. Unlike many Hindu festivals, the religious element is minimal; Holi is mostly about enjoying the moment, also making it one of the most accessible festivals to outsiders.
According to a Hindu legend, Hiranyakashipu, a Demon King, grew conceited and decreed that everyone in his Kingdom should worship only him.
However, his son Prahlada defied him and continued to worship Lord Vishnu. Eventually, the boy’s aunt Holika, having received a boon that made her immune from fire, tricked Prahlada into joining her on a pyre. However, Prahlada’s devotion saved him and Holika was devoured by the flames. Lord Vishnu then appeared and slew the Demon King.
Thus, Holi celebrates the victory of Prahlada over his evil father and aunt as well as commemorating his devotion to Vishnu.
The Date and the Celebration
The date of Holi is determined by the Lunar calendar and coincides with the Full Moon. The corresponding date on the Western calendar varies each year, but usually falls between the end of February and mid-March.
In 2019, Holi will be celebrated on March 20 and 21; in 2020 on March 9 and 10; in 2021 on March 28 and 29.
Rasmus Juul-Olsen is the Founder and Director of Bookmundi, a Denmark based, global travel booking portal with facilities for booking where you effortlessly can book day tours, fixed group departures, holidays and vacation packages in +120 countries around the world. The above article is an edited version. For full text, please visit https://www.bookmundi.com/t/a-guide-to-holi