Posted on 25/10/2020
Once every year, India bursts into colour when people from all over the country crowd the streets to celebrate Holi, the festival of colours. According to the Hindu calendar, Holi falls on the day after the last full moon of the winter. This festival marks the beginning of spring and so it is normally celebrated during the month of March. If visiting India has always been on your bucket list, then this is the best time to visit. You will be able to join in the fun festivities of Holi and add a little colour to your life, literally!
Holi is a two-day festival and each day has its own traditions. The first day is called Holika Dahan. On this day, people celebrate the destruction of the demoness Holika. She was burnt to ashes by a powerful Hindu god for attempting to murder a faithful prince. The locals make a huge bonfire that symbolizes the burning of the demon. During the night, the bonfire is lit and the occasion is enjoyed in song and dance.
The second day is what we all know as Holi and this is when everyone comes out to play with colours in their hands. This tradition has roots in another famous Hindu tale about one of their gods, Krishna. Lord Krishna was born with blue skin and when he was a child, he was jealous of the other children, especially the girls for having fair skin. He would then go around throwing colour and water at the others to make them as colourful as he was. In celebration of Lord Krishna, everyone goes out on the streets to throw colours on each other just as the Hindu god did when he was younger.
Any celebration in India is not the same without their mouth watering dishes, especially their desserts. If you have a sweet tooth, this is definitely the festival for you. In the two days, you will be devouring numerous sugary delights and you can find them in all the local sweet shops in your vicinity. Among the many treats there are to taste, you should try barfi - a dense bar of condensed milk filled with ingredients like nuts and rose petals, laddu - a sweet ball made up of flour or chickpeas, and jalebi - a deep fried batter that is doused in a heavy sugar syrup.
On the day of Holi, you will find many people drinking a unique beverage called bhang. This drink makes a special appearance just on Holi and you won't believe the secret ingredient. It's cannabis. Bhang is a peculiar concoction of milk, water, spices and a cannabis paste. It is the most popular beverage to consume during Holi and it packs a punch.
India is a massive country that is really diverse, and some regions do not celebrate Holi as well as the others. The top places you should visit for the optimal Holi experience are Mathura - the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Udaipur - one of the most beautiful cities in India, Goa - a popular tourist destination and Hampi - an enchanting historic city that comes alive with colour during Holi.
There are a few things that tourists should keep in mind before celebrating Holi in India. The crowds that gather during the festival can get overwhelming, crazy and chaotic. Make sure that you find a safe group of people to play with and it's important that your circle stays together at all times. If you're looking for a more intimate experience, then you can visit a residential area and join their party or visit the local parks in your area. This could be a safer alternative to partying on the streets. You'll be coming across hoards of strangers, so this is not a good time to be carrying anything valuable. Go with the bare necessities and you'll have nothing to worry about. Finally, it is a tradition to wear something white on this day, so dress up in white clothes that you don't mind getting soiled, because once the colour is on, it is impossible to get it off!