A quick guide to Holi: the Festival Of Colours
You are probably more than familiar with images of people covered in colourful powder amongst huge crowds in the streets of India. This is part of Holi, the Festival Of Colours celebrated amongst Hindu cultures. You might be wandering why? What is going on? and what is the meaning of it all? Here is a quick guide to the ins and outs of the Hindu festival.
What is Holi?
Holi, also known as the Festival Of Colours, is a Hindu festival taking place over a two day period celebrating the arrival of spring in India and Nepal. The actual date varies from year to year to coincide with the full moon day of Phalguna in the Hindu calendar which is something that usually happens at the end of February or early March.
The Hindu festival originates from religious beginnings and celebrates a time of good versus evil, an opportunity to spread love and happiness, forgive and forget and to be thankful for a good harvest. These days religion is less of a focus and it has become an opportunity for all cultures to get involved and have a good time with each other. Celebrations and festivities have now spread heavily into Southern Asia and can also be observed in many parts of the world.
It is a vibrant a busy celebration and a real community occasion. A time for people to get together and enjoy themselves no matter age, social class or ethnicity. It is globally recognised for crowds launching handfuls of colourful powder at each other. An underlying theme behind this is that when people of different ethnicities are covered in the colours they actually look the same.
How is Holi celebrated?
Holi begins the night before with Holika Dahan. This involves the burning of huge bonfires that signify the burning of Holika, the Devil. In Hindu scriptures the God Vishnu helps burn the devil Holika to death and represents good versus evil. The pyres are built in communal areas and parks and traditionally members of the public are expect to contribute materials to it as they burn. This is generally accompanied by singing, dancing and cultural rituals.
The next morning is when the festival of colours really comes into action. This is known as Rangwali Holi. Crowds take to the streets of India for one of the most raucous and messy festivals in the world. The free for all event involves singing, dancing, drumming and sees people humorously chasing each other around, throwing handfuls of coloured powders known as gulal at one another, whilst also getting completely drenched in water.
Tips on joining in with the Festival Of Colours
During Holi, the streets of India are incredibly crowded as this is a very busy, raucous Hindu festival with a wild and crazy atmosphere. It is often recommended to enjoy the festival of Colours from a distance if you haven’t experienced it before as it can become overwhelming.
Whilst out in the streets of India, chances are you will have colourful powders thrown at you. This cannot be helped but you can prepare yourself. Only go out in old clothes and it is a good idea to wear sunglasses and a hat as you want to minimise the risk of getting any in your eyes, face and mouth. Handy tips from locals are that you should moisturise your skin and put oil in your hair so that the colourful powder is easier to remove.
If you are going to properly join in with the celebrations it is recommended you use home made or natural colourful powders. These can be bought in the local markets and shop or made at home with flour, water and a little bit of food dye.
Go easy on the Bhang! Bhang Lassi is the drink of choice at this Hindu festival as is a very powerful intoxicant. The drink is generally made of yoghurt, water, nuts, spices such as cardamom and cinnamon, rose water, and cannabis. It ins’t uncommon to find some locals who may have had a few too many come the early afternoon.
And finally, Get up a go out early as the festivities involving the colourful powder throwing die off in the early afternoon. Keep your belongings safe and have fun!
This Hindu festival really brings the streets of India to life and is an experience unlike any other in the world. The important thing to take away from Holi, along with happiness and goodwill, is equality and the coming together of people from all races and backgrounds. There aren’t many other celebrations where you can expect to see locals, tourists and political figures all in the same place, all covered in colourful powders and all having a good time.
Using Holi to inspire you
With the summer months on the not too distance horizon, the celebrations involved with the Festival Of Colours are very inspirational when it comes to hosting your own event. If you are looking to host your own Holi-style or Indian themed event, we have a wonderful range of Indian acts and performers to chose from. Not only that, but we can source everything you could ever need for the real authentic India feel. From decor and catering to traditional drumming and fascinatingly colourful dancers we can help you transport your guests, wherever they are, to the vibrant streets of India.
Alternatively, you could recreate the thrill and positive environment of the colour powder throwing with your own colour splash event. It is an amazing opportunity to not only promote a product or brand but create a fun atmosphere. Already very popular with fun runs up and down the country, colour powder throwing can be used in activities completely unrelated to the Hindu festival. It can make a very powerful impression at colour themed events. For example; if you were to promote a company, product or brand through a public event and said organisation has a specific colour scheme, chose that one colour in powder for the event and the powder will end up everywhere and essentially accentuating the branding. Simple, fun and very affective.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need inspiration for your event. We’re here to help and our team of Entertainment Specialists will have many suggestions and solutions that you may find invaluable.