Holi (Festival of Colors)
Ever thought of doing a rain dance with music and colors all around you? This is what exactly happens in one of the biggest festivals in India “Holi”.
Holi is a huge holiday in India which is an ancient Hindu festival, originating from India’s subcontinent. This holiday in India is also known as “Festival of colors” as people play with dry colors, water balloons, water guns, etc, with music and dance. Holi is celebrated across the nation with full enthusiasm and energy, even though it is celebrated in a unique way from region to region, the spirit of Holi remains the same.
How Locals in India Celebrate Holi
There are three stages where people celebrate Holi.
The first stage is a few days before the Holi knows as “Lohri”. People start collecting wood and other inflammable things for the bonfire. The combustible material is then gathered in several community centers, parts, society and other open spaces. On top of the wood, Holika is placed to burn her down and celebrate the victory of good over evil. People dance and throw inflammable materials to make sure the fire keeps on flaming.
The second stage is a day before the festival, also known as Holika Dahan or Choti Holi. On this day people gather around the Pyre, perform puja (prayers) and then light it. People also sing and dance to celebrate Holi.
On the last stage, People gather together and celebrate Holi also known as ‘Rangwali Holi’, Dhulandi,phagwah and Badi Holi. This is the day where people apply colors to each other, party together, dance on music and enjoy the power of good. Children and young stars play in a group with dry colors also known as abir or gulal, pichkari(water guns), water balloons and other creative things. There is a good chance to see people dancing on drums and other musical instruments on the streets. Families also get together on this day and offer sweets to each other.
Advice from Locals
Holi is celebrated in different parts of the country in different manners. To experience the best of Holi in India, it has been said that Uttar Pradesh or other regions such as Braj, Mathura, Vrindavan, barsana, etc. are one of the best places to celebrate Holi as these places are more associated with Lord Krishna. The town of Barsana celebrates “Lath mar Holi”, where women beat their husband with sticks while men protect themselves by running around and shield themselves.
Other than these places Rajasthan is considered to be the top spot for the tourists, particularly in the city of Jaipur and Pushkar. Many hostels and Rajasthan tourism organize Holi parties for guests there. Rajasthan also holds a special Holi festival in Jaipur.
Holi is also celebrated in other major metropolitan cities around India such as Mumbai and Delhi. Several public parties and clubs organize Holi parties which include rain dance, music, colors, and Bhang.
Safety when Celebrating Holi in India
As Holi provides all the fun activities everybody wishes for, there is also a very big concern over the safety of tourists, especially women as males may behave disrespectfully with them.
It has been advised by local police officials that women should avoid going out on the streets alone as young males may pose safety threats to women. These males who might have consumed an excessive amount of Bhang and other intoxicated materials may try to inappropriately touch women and create a nuisance. To be on the safer sight, try to witness fun on the streets early in the morning and return before the afternoon. Also, it is more viable if you enjoy the festival Holi in private parties which are much safer than on the streets.
Tips to Travel to India During the Festival of Holi
Plan the trip to India at least three months before arriving. Try to book hotels, hostels, parties, etc. before you arrive in India. Carry a few old clothes with you as after Holi, they will get very dirty. It is not advised for solo women travelers to travel in India during the time of Holi. Try to connect with local people who can give you ideas about parties and places to travel during the time of the Festival.
The Overall Feeling of the Holi in India
Holi is a much-awaited festival for millions of people around India and Indians around the world. Children and youngsters usually start preparing for the Holidays before the festival. Several local shops sell Holi products with flowers and petals. Holi is popularly known as the festival of colors, festival of spring, or the festival of love.
This festival signifies the arrival of spring, the end of winters, the blossoming of love and for many a festival to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships.
It is also a reason where families plan gets together and have lunch or dinner together. From all the hectic schedule in people’s lives, this is the day where they openly enjoy on streets by dancing and singing while drained in colors. People also celebrate Holi while drinking ‘Bhang’. Bhang lassi is a very powerful intoxicant disguised as a sweet, delicious milky drink and it is made from cannabis leaves. Adults drink Bhang during private parties or in clubs to celebrate the Holi festival.