Re-living the moments. The original article was posted in December 2020. As the Holi festival is approaching in two days, I want to re-live the moments with you. Happy Holi! 🙂
The best festivals of India: Holi! Festival of colors and joy, the most famous celebration of India! Many people outside of India associate this day with throwing colors. And that’s correct! From catching colors to real colors fights. And not just colors, also water! This part might be less known. Do you know what happens when you combine colors and water? A celebration full of fun and happiness! That’s exactly Holi.
After two last virtual journeys to India when we discovered together Diwali in practice and also Karva Chauth, it is time for the spring festival of India. One more virtual travel together to #incredibleindia. Are you ready for this trip and colors & water fight? Join me!
HOLI – BOLLYWOOD WAY
Before we start talking about Holi and its practical side, I am sharing with you some Bollywood movies, best songs that show Holi in its action! From famous old movies to new ones. Which one is my favorite song below? Last one! Ready steady and play!
Sholay movie / Holi Ke Din Dil Khil Jate Hain song (1975)
Silsila movie / Rang Barse song (1981)
Baghban movie / Hori Khele Raghuveera song (2003)
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani movie / Balam Pichkari song (2013)
Which song did you like the most?
WHAT IS IT
Holi is one of the most revered festivals of India and it is celebrated in nearly every part of the country, between February end and March-end. It is also known as “festival of spring”, “festival of colors” or “festival of love”. During Holi people unite together and forget any type of bad feelings towards each other. Vibrant colors, used on that day, bring a lot of positivity and represent rejoicing.
The rituals start by lighting up the bonfire one day before the day of Holi, in the evening of Purnima (full moon). This process symbolizes the triumph of good over the bad. That day is celebrated with the name of Choti Holi (small Holi). The following day is called Holi. In various parts of India, it is known with different names. During Holi people play with colors and water with their family and friends, a day of fun!
Holi was one of the holidays I was, initially, a bit afraid of. Why? You should see the water and color fights that My Better Half does with Our Bigger Angel (and how ‘clean’ our terrace garden is later on). I have celebrated 3 Holi festivals in India. And to add to it: my first Holi in India was when I was 5 months pregnant. Yes, I got special care & treatment! So let me tell you about Holi in practice!
HOLI IN PRACTICE
- In the south of India schools/offices remain opened during Holi, while it is a holiday in the north of India, school, and office remain closed.
- In all other states people, depending on the individual situation, celebrate Holi on weekend before or after or on the actual Holi day.
- Traditional Holi food is gujiya (in a form of dumplings eaten as a snack – click here for gujiya recipe), as well as namak parak (crunchy savory snack – click here for namak parak recipe) and shakarpara (crispy and lightly sweetened snack – click here for shakarpara recipe).
- Family members and friends like to gather, in fact, more people = more fun.
- The key attraction of the day is the colors and water fight, that’s what all people wait for (no matter if kids or not!).
- All shops, few weeks before Holi, start to sell Holi colors and all toys for water fights.
- There are two main types of colors: gulal (traditionally it is used dry, without water, it doesn’t stick to the body) and pakka rang – fast color (it is used with water, it sticks to the body).
- One needs to be careful as the type of the color decides later ‘how easy it is for the color to be removed’, also dry colors are easier to be removed, adding water fight to it – makes cleaning a bit more challenging later on.
HOLI IN PRACTICE: COLORS & WATER FIGHTS
- People do water and color fights in clothes. It is good to wear something that can either be thrown away or have its color changed forever (e.g., as a great memory of Holi), dark colors or long sleeves are good options too.
- Water fights can be done in any form: directly from a water pipe, water guns, bucket, kids swimming pools, etc.
- Holi is celebrated at home, streets, temples. Just imagine what happens when you start to mix water and colors…
- The duration of the fight depends on participants’ resistance, energy level, and free time 🙂 2-hour fights are standard.
- Once the fight is over: clean your body (at home also: clean the mess).
- After Holi fights, most of the streets of India are colorful. That’s the part when my ecology lamp turns on, on one hand, tradition and fun, on the second-hand impact to the environment.
Adventures and funny stories seem to be an integrated part of our family! It is never boring or monotonous. What happened during Holi this year?
As always, in the morning hours, we planned for the colors and water fight, just before My Better Half office hours. We live in the south of India so offices remain opened on Holi. Our Bigger Angel was all set and ready: wore old clothes, applied plenty of coconut oil – my real fighter! Together with Our Little One my Holi this year was more ‘a slow mode’ version. But the other two fighters took it all seriously and started their annual Holi fun hours, with plenty of gulal flying in the air and landing in the water. The fight took hours…
Remember: gulal doesn’t stick to the body. That’s what My Better Half thought in the morning, before the fight, and skipped applying coconut oil (oh noooo… and we were completely unaware of it). Hmm, and he thought that gulal was a good brand too… and just after the Holi fights we had many corporate video meetings 😀 I do not remember when My Better Half did so many face scrubs within one hour. What to say… he simply looked more colorful during his video calls and made more people smile! 😀
That’s a “must-do” tip if you are planning to join the Holi celebration in India, no matter if this is a famous place or just throwing colors at home.
Before water and colors fight apply coconut oil. And I mean a lot of oil. Simply, all body parts, including the face, need to be oiled. Unless… you want to enjoy colorful face and body for few days or do deep – very deep scratching & scrubbing. Even if the colors say washable or organic… apply. 🙂
Coconut oil is very cheap in India and available everywhere. My favorite one that I recommend is Parachute brand.
Additionally, women also tend to apply nail polish before Holi. This is to protect nails from having ‘rainbow’ colors for a few days.
EXPERIENCE HOLI – dates to save
- 2021: 29th March (Mon)
- 2022: 18th March (Fri)
- 2023: 8th March (Wed)
THE BEST PLACES TO CELEBRATE HOLI IN INDIA
Barsana, Uttar Pradesh
Holi in Barsana is one of the most famous celebrations, known as ‘Holi with sticks’ or Lathmar Holi. The women of Barsana and Nandgaon villages, near Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh during the Holi beat up men with sticks after they throw colors on ladies.
Lathmar Holi takes place in the week before the main day of Holi. In 2021 it will happen on the 23rd March in Barsana and on the 24th March in Nandgaon. Highlight: if you are a solo traveling woman, pay extra attention. Men, when throwing colors, might be getting too close and take advantage of unnecessarily touching your body.
Mathura and Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Holi celebrations start 40 days before the main Holi day in the temple towns of Mathura and Vrindavan, 4 hours away from Delhi. Mathura town is where Lord Krishna was born, in Vrindavan he spent his childhood.
In both towns, renowned shows are held in the week before Holi: Sri Krishna Janmasthan temple in Mathura and Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan.
The legendary and culminating event of color fight takes place in the morning one day before Holi (28th March 2021) in Banke Bihari temple. On Holi (29th March 2021) the best place to play colors is Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura. Important: also in Mathura & Vrindavan solo traveling women should pay extra attention or join organized tours.
ANY INDIAN FAMILY HOME 🙂
Best celebration! Noting is better than real Indian Holi! See you in India!
Want to learn more about Holi? Click here.
Have you had a chance to celebrate any of the Indian festivals? If yes, which one is your favorite? If not yet, which one would you like to experience most? Share below! Remember, sharing is caring!
Moments that matter, no matter the color.
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