The colors of spring: the history of the festival of colors (Holi) in India - Inc News
, author: Ermakova M.

The colors of spring: the history of the festival of colors (Holi) in India

In 2023, the festival will begin on March 8 and will last for several days.

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This festival does not have a specific date. Holi is celebrated in the 12th month of the single Indian calendar, Phalgun, the day after the full moon. This year, that day fell on March 8th.

The roots of the holiday

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Holi is one of the oldest Indian holidays - it was celebrated three centuries before the beginning of our era. Like many other celebrations, it is "overgrown" with beautiful legends that are told to each other by different generations. So, according to one of the legends, the evil king imagined himself a god, having received eternal life as a gift from God. The king ordered everyone to worship him. Everyone followed the order, except for the son and sister of the king (her name was Holika) - the heir continued to make requests and thanks to the true god, his aunt supported him in this. The king ordered the disobedient relatives to be burned, but his son hastened to stand up for his aunt. God (true) heard his prayers and sent a multi-colored scarf to the young man - having covered himself with it, Holika will protect himself from the fire. However, when she tried to use the god's gift, a gust of wind blew off her scarf and transferred it to the prince sitting next to her.

Since then, there has been a tradition of staining each other with paints. Thus, people, as it were, embody the colorful scarf of Holiki, and, transferring its colors to another person, shelter him from the effects of evil forces.


Holi is celebrated throughout India, but special attention is paid to this colorful fun in the north of the country. A couple of weeks before the festival, literally everything starts to be painted, right down to the buildings. The premises are decorated with flowers, and they also acquire multi-colored powder, paints, and water cannons. In the villages, two weeks before Holi, they begin to arrange various entertainment events - concerts, collective games. During performances, artists collect money for "consumables" for the holiday - colored powders, rags, and so on.

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On the first day of the celebration, a large fire is kindled closer to the night - the Indians believe that the fire drives away evil spirits and spirits of cold, still feeling at ease after winter. People bravely trample on the coals, attracting prosperity and good luck. Holi participants shower each other with multi-colored powder and pour water over each other. They all have fun together, not divided by caste, gender, age and other characteristics.

There is also a traditional Holi treat - tandai. This is a milk-based drink with the addition of hemp juice or leaves.