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Colourful moments: Embracing the spirit of Holi

I know many family and friends that celebrate Holi, an important ancient Hindu celebration that marks the beginning of Spring. I wanted to share more about this vibrant festival and its traditions, to help promote cultural understanding and appreciation – I hope you enjoy learning more!


Let’s talk about Holi

Entwined in Hindu mythology, Holi is a celebration of new life and the triumph of good over evil. Traditionally falling in the last Hindu calendar month of Phalguna (February/March) to coincide with the arrival of Spring, this year the festivities begin on Monday 25 March. Lasting for up to two days, these start with a lunar celebration on the eve of Purnima, “Holika Dahan” or “Choti Holi”.


Welcoming the season of Spring

In India, Holi coincides with the harvesting of wheat, with the blooming of flora representing the start of the harvest season. The burning of a bonfire and the roasting of gram, wheat, and other grains, also referred to as holuk, is an age-old tradition to offer a sacrifice or prayer as thanks for a good harvest.


Celebrating good over evil

The Hindu Religion believes there was a devil king named ‘Hiranyakashyap’ who could not be killed. Hiranyakashyap schemed with his sister, ‘Holika’ who is immune to fire, to kill him. The sister and his son willingly sat in the fire, Holika got charred and Prahlad came out safe – this indicated he was protected by his Lord, with Holi taking its name from Holika. To this day, the tradition of lighting a bonfire the night before the festival is observed, keeping any evil spirits away.


A vibrant display of colour

The next day, the celebration of colour begins with a parade, Dhuleti, which sees people taking to the streets to unite, applying coloured water and powders (gulal) to each other, creating a vibrant and colourful display representing Hindu gods and the colours of nature. Red symbolises love and fertility; yellow is the colour of turmeric; blue represents the Hindu God Krishna; and green is for new beginnings.


Looking to celebrate Holi this year, or just interested to learn more? Why not check out one of these great events being held in London this year:

  • Mangalam Holi Mahotsav in Feltham – a family-friendly celebration to enjoy the festival of colours. Highlights include cultural performances, witnessing Holika Dahan (RSVP), DJ Music and Dhol (a traditional Indian drum), food and colour play. Find out more here.


  • Cinnamon Kitchen – an opportunity to visit this delicious Supper Club featuring Vivek Singh’s five-course menu, powdered paint throwing at the House of HOLI and options to learn how to make your own Indian cuisine with Cooking Masterclass. Find out more here.


Authored by Vejeeva Jeevananthan.