20 Most Interesting Facts About Holi Festival

Holi is one of those uncommon celebrations where individuals take an interest regardless of their religious slants. People come together and play this colourful festival.

Rightly called the festival of colours and the festival of love, Holi has won hearts not only in Asia, but even in the farthest corners of Europe and the United States. Germany even went to the extent of conducting a big open-air music festival to celebrate Holi.

Holi festival of colours
Photograph by Bikas Das

There are some facts about this colourful festival, which you should know. Here is a list of top 20 facts about holi.

#1. The word Holi is derived from the word “Holika”, the demonic sister of King Hiranyakashipu.

#2. Legend has that the evil king  Hiranyakashyap become increasingly strong through his devotion to God and asked his people to address him as god or bear severe consequences. Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlad was an ardent follower of Lord Vishnu and he survived the conspiracies of Holika who tried to trick him and kill him through bonfire and his father who tried to take away his life many times. Prahlad was each time saved by Lord Vishnu.

#3. Holi commemorates the victory of Good over Evil and Holi is celebrated on the following day after Holika was burned in bonfire.

#4. Other legend behind the origin of Holi is that Lord Krishna as a baby was poisoned by the breast milk of Putana and thus he developed the characteristic blue color of his skin. Krishna was not sure if fair skinned Radha and other girls would like him. Thus he approached Radha and colored her face in some colors. Radha accepted Krishna despite the blue color of his skin and since that day the festival of Holi is celebrated. Holi is commemorated as the festival of love!

#5. Holi marks the passing of winter and beginning of spring. It is celebrated after the full moon in the month of ‘Phalguna’ which generally falls between February and March. The exact date of the festival is determined by the Hindu Calendar and its arrival varies on the Gregorian calendar.

Holi festival of colours
Roadside vendors sell coloured powder in Kolkata, India. Photograph by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

#6. It is a national festival celebrated across all the 28 states of India!

#7. With every passing year, the festival is being welcomed across the world in many forms and people find great relief and satisfaction celebrating it with their friends and family.

#8. The festival starts on the night before Holi when people gather and start a bonfire. The bonfire is lit up between 8 pm and midnight. People gather around the fire to watch it while eating their favorite food items, and talk with friends.

#9. The second day of the festival of Holi which is also referred as “Rangwali Holi” is the main day when people play with wet and dry colors. People chase each other in an attempt to color one another.

#10. It is a day to celebrate youth! You will find wild hordes of youngsters in cars and bikes roaming the streets with water guns and balloons filled with waters screening for similar groups. And once they meet, the street fight begins! And any unassuming youngster caught smack in the middle normally bears the brunt of the colorful assault!Holi Festival of Colours

#11. Holi is the only day Indian kids have official permission to get filthy! Indian parents are notorious for their obsession with cleanliness, especially so in the case of their children. But, come Holi, all that flies out of the window. They can drown each other in colours, use spray gun, water balloons and what-nots!

#12. The festival of Holi is celebrated for at least 16 days in the Brag region of India where Krishna was born.

#13. Beware of this drink: Holi is also popular for the consumption of an intoxicating article – Bhang. This ingredient is mixed into drinks and sweets and is largely consumed by many during the festival. Bhang is made from cannabis leaves.

#14. The festival of colors is also popular for a saying “Bura na mano, Holi hai!” which means “do not mind, it’s holi.”

#15. India has long been plagued by superstitions and untouchability. Holi was the first festival which started preaching the message of equality and brotherhood in the society.

Holi festival of colours
Photograph by Poras Chaudhary, MyShot

#16. Men are allowed to throw colours and drench their female counterparts in water. For a society as rigid as India, pouring water over an unknown female is unthinkable for 364 days of the year. But again, Holi isn’t just another day!

#17. In a world filled with religious fanatics, you will hardly find another religious festival celebrated universally, cutting across religious and national barriers. It is as if the colours have the power to melt away social, cultural and religious differences.

#18. Holi has become the grand ambassador that preached the ultimate principle that Hinduism try to preach- 7 billion people on different paths, all leading to one God! This is on full display on Holi when people from different countries and religions go out and celebrate this festival of love.

#19. People generally tend to gather and celebrate this festival in open as it provides a suitable environment for the use of colors and water.

#20. Wearing white is generally deemed ‘apt’, for the colors can better ‘pop’ on a blank canvas. However, practicality-wise stick to something you might not wear again, as the colors do not come off easy.

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