Holi is a Hindu holiday celebrated in India, Nepal, and other parts of the word between the end of February and the middle of March, and it’s known as the “Festival of Colors.” Typically coinciding the the phase of the full moon, it celebrates and honors the Hindu religion and one of the many myths that come from the wonderful religion. Over the course of a day, people celebrate fertility, color, love, good conquering evil, and the arrival of spring. The holiday is split into two main parts: Holika Dahan and Rangwali Holi.

Holika Dahan takes place the night before the actual day of Holiday, and families, friends, coworkers, and peoples of all enthicities and castes gather together to burn wood and dung cakes to symbolize the story of how Vishnu, the god of protection and preservation, burned a devil named Holika to death. According to the legend, Vishnu kills Holika to save Prahlad in a city named Multan. Prahlad was the king of Multan and a devout follower of Vishnu. A boon (also known as a favor) was granted to him by allowing him to be safe from being unable to be killed by any living thing born from a womb. After the demon Holika had attempted to take his life multiple times, Prahlad was saved by Vishnu and went on to be a kind and generous king in his later years after he ascended to the throne.

Rangwali Holi is the day immediately following Holika Dahan, and it’s a day meant for spending time with close family and friends, and it celebrates the end of winter and the arrival of spring. During this part of the holiday, the Festival of Colors takes place, which is what is associated the most with the celebrations of Holi. The Festival of Colors is a festival meant for fun, happiness, and joy, and a wide array of colors is used to symbolically bless and cleanse those out celebrating to keep them from getting sick and spreading illnesses that are still lingering from the winter months. As a day of celebration and joy, people typically tend to take to the streets to throw the colored powders and water on other people. People also play instruments, sing, share food, dance, and drink.

While Holi is a Hindu holiday that has been celebrated in India and Nepal for centuries, it’s been gaining popularity in in other religions, cultures, and other parts of the world in recent years. Many use it as a way of celebrating Indian culture and heritage while showing an appreciation for the holiday. Many others celebrate and appreciate the holiday for what it represents, regardless of its historical ties to the cultures of India, Nepal, and the Hindu religion. Although there are several discussions over whether celebrating the holiday is cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation, the holiday and its celebrations will most likely continue to grow in popularity around the world.

If you’d like to read more on different holidays around the world, click here!



Briana Maddox View All →

As an recent college graduate who studied media studies and anthropology in college, Briana Maddox enjoys learning about different cultures, traditions, holidays, historical figures, experiences, and opinions. With a vested interest in sharing such learning experiences, Briana created Life & Anthropology in the hopes of helping other people gain a better understanding and working knowledge of such topics.

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