Holi festival is almost upon us and that leaves many of us wondering just what is story behind Holi Festival in India? 2020 is a year for celebrating culture as we welcome in a new decade and therefore we’re here to clue you in on everything you need to know about this beautiful and colorful Hindu springtime celebration—one of the most popular festivals of India.
Also known as the “Festival of Color,” Holi is usually celebrated in India and Nepal, with millions of Hindus coming together on the last full moon day of the lunar month. So when is Holi 2020? This year, the celebrations will fall on March 9-10.
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Indian festivals 2020: discovering Holi Festival history
As one of the most popular Indian Festivals 2020 has to offer, it’s important we first understand the fascinating Holi Festival history.
The story behind Holi first originated in the Indian subcontinent, but it has since spread to other parts of Asia and is becoming more popular around the rest of the world. It’s roots lie, however, in the story of Hiranyakashipu, the ancient Indian king “who was like a demon” and wanted to get revenge on Lord Vishnu for killing his brother. When Hiranyakashipu’s son, Prahalad, who worshipped Lord Vishnu, would not obey his father, and the king decided he must be killed.
Hiranyakashipu had a sister, Holika, who was said to be immune to fire, and he asked her to sit with Prahalad on her lap so he would burn to death. Much to the king’s surprise, however, Holika burned to death, while Prahalad, who all the while had been repeating Lord Vishnu’s name, survived without nary a scratch. Thus, to this day, Holika’s demise represents the burning of all that is bad.
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Discover this amazing cultural festival with Holi traditions and rituals
A few days before this unique cultural festival, people usually start the Holi traditions by collecting wood for a huge fire at the major crossroad in the city. On the eve of Holi, Holika Dahan takes place, which is the lighting of a bonfire to represent the burning of Holika and the victory of good over evil.
The next day is when the main celebration takes place, which is a party with lots of colors called Dhuleti. This jubilant festival sees thousands of people cover each other in a rainbow of colored powders to celebrate the beginning of spring.
The colors used are very symbolic in Hinduism. Red indicates both sensuality and purity, while saffron—the most sacred color in Hinduism—represents fire and purity, relating back to how impurities are burned by, or eliminated with, fire. Additionally, green represents life and happiness.
Everyone then takes to the streets to dance and sing and in the evenings, and friends and families will gather together for food and further celebration.
Why do we celebrate Holi? The importance of Indian celebrations in 2020
So why do we celebrate Holi? What’s the significance of these Indian celebrations? The main reason people celebrate Holi festival is to bring in the new season: spring and potentially the springtime vacations which go hand-in-hand with that. Hindus, however, have additional reasons for celebration. They believe it is the only day where the Gods look away—the only day they can get rid of any evil and/or sins before starting anew.
The colors of Holi signify the sins, and when the powders are washed off at the end of the day, this signifies a clean and pure start to the new season.
Where to go for Holi Festival 2020: check out the best places to visit in India
So now, in order to get the full authentic experience, you may be wondering where to go for Holi Festival in 2020. Holi is celebrated pretty much all over India, albeit with slight variations, so wherever you go, it will be a bright and vibrant ceremony. Here are some suggestions and some of the best places to visit in India if you would like to travel to a popular and well-known destination for your Holi experience.
What is Holi Festival like in Vrindavan? Visit and explore other places to see in Mathura
Looking for the authentic experience by exploring the town of Vrindavan? Visit and explore other amazing places to see in Mathura. Both towns are immensely popular throughout the country and attract thousands of people from all over the world. Vrindavan is a holy town in Northern India and is where Lord Krishna spent his childhood, while Mathura is the birthplace of Krishna.
The tradition of throwing colors is also said to come from the love story of Lord Krishna and his wife Radha. A Holi show, therefore, takes place in Mathura every year—a week before the festival commences. This takes place from the Dwarkadhish temple to the Holi Gate, where the festival is marked.
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What to wear on Holi—more importantly, what to wear to a color festival in 2020
As you are attending a festival where you are going to get covered in water and color, it is important to know exactly what to wear to a color festival. Wear something old and something you don’t mind getting ruined. It is recommended you wear white, so the color shows up more, and you begin the day as a blank canvas.
Our top tip? Cover your body in oil. You will have a better chance of washing the paint off at the end of the day.