Elephant holi festival

The Ultimate Guide to India's Glorious Holi Festival

Kristen G
by Kristen Gilbert

March 22, 2019

3 minute read

India's colorful Holi festival is the Hindu celebration of Spring’s return. It celebrates fertility, love, friendship, and triumph of good over evil. Neighbors, friends and family have been coming together during this time to pray and rejoice for centuries, and if you’re lucky enough to participate, you’ll be swept up in joyful revelry as colored powder and water are tossed into the air, drenching everyone in a rainbow. It gets pretty messy, but it’s worth it.

Holi for health

Holi Festival in India

The festival benefits the health of the culture, society and individuals. Culturally, it’s a day when people can rid themselves of past mistakes, heal severed ties and begin anew. Since it also marks the beginning of Spring, it heralds a time of rebirth and renewal.

In the southern regions, Holi is a week-long celebration involving prayer and paying respect to the gods. They have their share of fun in the south, but in the northern regions, you’ll find a bit more colorful revelry.

Socially, Holi helps bring people together. Rich and poor celebrate as one. Strangers become friends, and the spirit of kinship is felt all around. Sweet treats and gifts are exchanged and bonds are strengthened.

Holi is also a time when people Spring clean their homes before the festival brings them out into the streets to dance, sing, laugh, and soak in the good vibes coming from all around. There’s plenty of exercise and happiness to be had!

Holi Festival Tips for first-timers

Holi powder

Even though the Holi festival is a lot of fun, the aftermath can be a bit inconvenient if you’re not prepared. Here are a few tips to make sure your Holi experience doesn’t stick with you for weeks to come.

  • Protect your camera: Between all the colored powder flying around, kids with squirt guns and water balloons pointed your way, and people splashing you with buckets of colored water, your camera doesn’t stand a chance. Take every precaution to keep it clean and dry.
  • Wear replaceable sun glasses: Getting powder in your eyes is no fun at all. Wear an inexpensive pair of sunglasses to protect them and leave your favorites at home to prevent loss or damage.
  • Cover your hair: This is particularly important if your hair is blonde. Once your hair is stained there’s nothing you can do to change it. Wrap it up and cover it as much as possible.
  • Wear white: Sure, your clothes will be ruined, but they’ll be a fun and colorful memento to bring home. It’s worth sacrificing those few items.
  • Paint your nails: The colored powder will stain your nails for weeks to come. Even a simple clear coat is recommended for everyone.
  • Slather your skin and hair with coconut oil: This will provide your skin with a protective barrier against the colored powder. It can be very drying to the skin and hair, not to mention the absolute guarantee that it will leave stains that last long after you’ve returned home.
  • Go with a guided group: Things can get pretty wild during Holi, so your best and safest bet is to go with a guided group. You’ll avoid any trouble areas and enjoy the festivities worry-free.
  • Have fun: This festival is all about letting loose. Let your inner child out and have a blast!

The date for the Holi festival varies every year since Hindu festivals are planned according to the lunar calendar. Now that you know what to expect, you're ready to come with us!

Have you participated in the Holi festival? Share your tips and photos in the comments below!

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