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Celebrating Colors: Exploring the Joyous Festival of Holi in India

Aprajita Chandra

People & Culture Partner


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Image credit: Kristin Ruhs/GETTY IMAGES

India, a land of diverse cultures and vibrant traditions, hosts a multitude of festivals throughout the year, each with its unique charm and significance. And among these, the festival of colours - Holi, is one of the most vibrant and celebrated festivals across the country. Holi marks the arrival of spring after the long winter season and is also symbolic of the triumph of good over evil, making it a time of unity, merriment and renewal. As colors fill the air and laughter echoes through the streets, Holi brings people together from all walks of life, transcending barriers of religion, caste and creed.

Join us to celebrate the Holi festival this year and uncover the traditions, significance and excitement that surround this colorful extravaganza.

Historical and cultural significance

The roots of Holi can be traced back to ancient India, as referenced  in various mythological texts and scriptures. One of the most popular legends associated with Holi is the tale of Holika and Prahlad, which tells the triumph of good over evil. According to Hindu mythology, the demon king Hiranyakashipu's sister, Holika, tried to burn Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, in a pyre. However, Prahlad emerged unscathed due to his unwavering devotion, while Holika perished in the flames. This legend symbolizes the victory of righteousness and the burning of all negativity.

Traditions and rituals

Holi is celebrated with great excitement and enthusiasm across India, with each region adding its unique flavor to the festivities. The celebrations typically begin on the evening of the full moon day in the month of Phalguna with Holika Dahan, where bonfires are lit to commemorate the burning of Holika. The following day is known as Rangwali Holi, marked by the iconic tradition of playing with colors. People smear each other with gulal (colored powders) and drench each other with water, accompanied by music, dance, and delectable treats. 

Talking about treats, the celebration is incomplete without feasting on traditional sweets like Gujiyas, crispy, sweet dumplings and another major specialty of the festival, Thandai, a sweet and spicy milk-based drink, that is prepared and shared among family and friends.

Unity in diversity

One of the most amazing aspects of Holi is its ability to transcend barriers of caste, creed and religion, uniting people from all walks of life in a kaleidoscope of colors. During Holi,  people from diverse backgrounds come together to revel in the spirit of camaraderie and inclusivity. It is a time when old grievances are forgiven, and new bonds are forged amidst laughter and merriment.

Modern interpretations

In recent years, Holi has evolved beyond its traditional boundaries and has gained popularity not only in India but also globally. From Holi-themed parties and music festivals to eco-friendly initiatives promoting the use of organic colors, the festival has undergone a modern makeover while still retaining its essence. Moreover, Holi serves as a symbol of cultural exchange and mutual respect, as people from different parts of the world embrace this colorful tradition with open arms.


Holi, with its riot of colors and infectious energy, is much more than just a festival - it is a celebration of life, love and inclusivity. It brings people together in a playful celebration with colors, breaking down religious and cultural barriers and fostering a sense of camaraderie and goodwill. As the hues of Holi paint the sky and hearts with joy, they serve as a reminder of the inherent beauty of diversity and the power of collective celebration.

Wish you a colorful and joyous Holi celebration ahead!!

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