Do You Participate in Holi?

Here at Wonderopolis, we have explored numerous holidays. Maybe you have read about Mardi Gras, Passover, or Kwanzaa. Today, we will discuss another holiday. It is observed by more than a billion individuals worldwide. What are we referring to? Holi, of course!

What is Holi? It is a spring festival that originated in northern India. Holi is also known as “The Festival of Colors” or “The Festival of Love.” Does your family observe Holi? If so, you are aware of the immense joy it brings! Holi commemorates the triumph of good over evil.

Holi started as a holiday in Hinduism, which is the primary religion of India. It occurs during the full moon of the Hindu month Phalguna. Typically, this falls in March, near the spring equinox.

Today, Holi is still primarily a Hindu holiday. However, individuals of various other religions also celebrate the festival. Particularly in India, those who are Muslim, Sikh, and Christian observe Holi. People of Indian descent have also introduced the holiday as they migrate to and visit other countries.

How do people celebrate Holi? It often begins with a large bonfire. For many, this symbolizes the burning of evil spirits. During the ensuing celebration, people throw colorful powder and water balloons at each other. As you can imagine, Holi can get quite messy! Families also share a feast of traditional Indian cuisine. This often includes thandai, malpua, and gujiya.

However, there are various ways to celebrate Holi. One example is the majority Sikh population of the Indian state Punjab. They refer to the Holi festival as “Hola Mohalla.” Over the course of three days, they organize numerous competitions, including mock battles. The Sikh tradition even includes music and poetry contests.

What is the story behind Holi? There are multiple versions of the holiday’s origin. However, one commonly held belief is that Holi is based on a story about the Hindu god Vishnu.

Many Hindu individuals believe there was once a demon king named Hiranyakashipu. He desired the people under his rule to worship him instead of the gods. However, his son, Prahlada, continued to worship the god Vishnu.

In an attempt to eliminate Prahlada, the king collaborated with his sister, the demoness Holika. She was immune to fire. Holika deceived Prahlada into sitting on her lap on a pyre. However, the god Vishnu saved Prahlada, causing Holika to burn instead. That is why many Hindu people commence Holi with a bonfire.

Naturally, there are other tales about the origin of Holi. Many believe it commemorates the birthday of the Hindu saint Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Others attribute it to another Hindu story about the god Krishna. It is said that he smeared beautiful colors on his followers. They believe this initiated the tradition of throwing colorful powders.

Have you ever attended a Holi festival? If your family is Hindu, the answer is likely yes! However, others are often welcome at Holi festivals, as long as they respect the culture and the holiday itself. If your family wishes to partake in a Holi celebration, remember to appreciate—not appropriate—the tradition.

Give It a Try

Ready to discover more about this vibrant festival? Enlist the help of a friend or family member for the following activities.

  • In today’s Wonder, we discovered that one of the traditions of Holi is throwing colorful powders at each other. However, have you ever wondered what these colors symbolize? Take a look at this article to find out the meanings behind the colors in this cultural celebration. Afterward, choose a color that resonates with you and discuss its significance with a friend or family member.
  • Is there a festival or holiday that you and your family look forward to celebrating every year? It could be anything from Easter to Halloween or even the Fourth of July. What do you enjoy about this holiday? How is it similar to Holi? How is it different? Write a letter to a friend or family member, comparing and contrasting your favorite holiday with Holi.
  • Holi typically commences with a grand bonfire. Enlist the help of a family member or trusted adult to create your own bonfire collage using colored tissue paper.

References for Wonder

  • https://www.holifestival.org/ (accessed 07 Mar. 2022)
  • https://www.britannica.com/topic/Holi (accessed 07 Mar. 2022)
  • https://time.com/5799354/what-is-holi/ (accessed 07 Mar. 2022)
  • https://www.holifestival.org/history-of-holi.html (accessed 07 Mar. 2022)
  • https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/21/key-findings-about-the-religious-composition-of-india/ (accessed 07 Mar. 2022)
  • https://travel.earth/celebrate-holi-india-outside-india/ (accessed 07 Mar. 2022)
  • https://learnersdictionary.com/ (accessed 07 Mar. 2022)

FAQ

1. Do you celebrate Holi?

Yes, Holi is a popular festival celebrated in India and other parts of the world. It is a festival of colors and joy, marking the arrival of spring. People come together to play with vibrant colors, dance, sing, and have fun.

2. What is the significance of Holi?

Holi has both cultural and religious significance. It is primarily associated with the Hindu god Krishna and his playful and mischievous nature. The festival also marks the victory of good over evil and the arrival of a new season.

3. How is Holi celebrated?

Holi celebrations usually start with a bonfire called Holika Dahan on the night before the main festival. On the day of Holi, people gather on the streets and throw colored powders and water at each other. There is also music, dancing, and traditional food to enjoy.

4. Are there any rituals or customs associated with Holi?

Yes, there are some rituals and customs associated with Holi. One of them is the tradition of smearing colored powders on each other as a sign of love and unity. Another custom is to visit friends and family, exchange sweets, and offer prayers.

5. Is Holi celebrated only in India?

No, Holi is celebrated not only in India but also in many other countries. It has gained popularity worldwide due to its vibrant and joyful nature. People from different cultural backgrounds come together to participate in the festivities and experience the spirit of Holi.

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