Holi – the Hindu Festival of Colors

How to Celebrate Holi

Holi is the Hindu Festival of Spring, Colors & Love!

Holi is March 28th - 29th, 2021

What is Holi?

Holi is beautiful Hindu festival that celebrates the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil! It's a time for laughter, fun, forgiveness and COLORS!  There are two main parts to the Holi Festival.

The first night of Holi kicks off with a large bonfire known as Holika Dahan.  Hindu rituals that pay homage to good conquering evil are performed by the fire.  It's a time for everyone to throw their inner darkness to the fire, forgive feuds and replace anger with love. 

The next morning is the festival of colors - known as Rangwali Holi.  This is a day to welcome spring and rejoice in the streets with music & dancing and by showering friends, family and strangers alike with colored powders known as Gulal!  Vibrantly colored water balloons and water guns are also commonly splashed about! 

Symbolism of Colors

The brightly colored gulal powders thrown about reflect the new emerging colors of spring!  While many people throw colors just for fun, others choose colors by their significance in the Hindu religion.  Here are a few colors frequently associated with Holi and what they symbolize.

  • RED symbolizes love, matrimony and fertility
  • SAFFRON is a sacred color of fire and purity. It's worn by those who are on a quest to seek light.
  • ORANGE represents the Sun and new day dawning
  • YELLOW symbolizes health and happiness as it represents Turmeric, a plant of natural healing
  • GREEN symbolizes life, new beginnings & harvest
  • BLUE represents Krishna, the Hindu God of compassion and love
  • PURPLE represents wisdom, peace and unity with God
  • WHITE is a blend of all colors and a blend of all of their meanings.  It also suggests purity, clarity and enlightenment. 

How to Celebrate Holi

If you can't make it to India to join the festivities, here are a few ways to create your own Holi festival with friends and family at home!

How to Decorate for Holi

To decorate your home for Holi, just add vibrant colors from floor to ceiling!

Flower Garlands are another vibrant way to welcome spring!

Colorful pinwheels, streamers and banners are a simple way to add some colorful pops!

Set your dining table with colorful napkins to celebrate the arrival of spring!

Spring scented incense sticks can add a whole new ambiance to your celebration.

Colorful Indian couch or floor pillows can brighten up a room and set a cozy mood for relaxation!

Fresh flowers or silk flower petals add vibrant color and are great reminders of spring!

Colorful Henna Candles & Lanterns are a simple way to create a middle eastern mindset!

Hosting a Color Throwing Party

Here are a few essentials for a fun filled Holi!

To celebrate with traditional colored powder:

What is Holi Powder Made Of?

While each manufacturing practice can differ, Holi power is traditionally comprised of corn starch or rice powder, water and some form of food coloring.  Coloring can be made from natural ingredients, food coloring or synthetic dyes.  To minimize health and enviornmental risk, we recommed choosing powers with natural coloring like ones we've linked to above! 

What should you wear to a color throwing party?

While the most fun color to wear is white, you can also wear tye-die or something colorful.  While colored powder made from natural dyes often comes out of your clothes with just water or in 1-2 washes, we recommend wearing anything you're willing to part with!  For shoes, consider wearing flip flops, rain boots or going barefoot if you don't want to stain your sneakers!  If you'd prefer to minimize the amount of powder you breathe in, wear a breathable mask that covers your nose and mouth!

How does Holi powder wash out of skin, hair and clothing?

While every Holi powder manufacturer is different, we've found that the powders we've linked to above wash off easily with water.  People with lighter colored hair may need a few washes to get all of the color out of their hair.
 
We highly recommend avoiding Holi powders made with synthetic dyes as they are more likely to cause skin irritation and permanent staining on clothing.

How to clean up your outdoor venue after a color throwing party

If you're hosting a small party, there might not be much clean up needed!  If an excess of color is left about, sweep everything you can away with a broom, leaf blower or vacuum.  The remaining color can be washed away with sprinklers, by hose or just waiting until the next rainfall!  As most color spillage tends to accumulate near where your color stations are, laying a waterproof tarp under the color station table may make it easier to broom or vacuum up the excess power at the end!

Outdoor Fun Without Colored Powder:

Fun and colorful activities for toddlers that help welcome spring!

Bubble Machines can create a fun party atmosphere with little hastle and less mess!

Colorful Bubble Wands are a way to make big fun and celebrate spring!

Colorful water beads are a great sensory experience for toddlers ages 3 and up! Fill up a water table or outdoor pool and challenge your kids to sort by colors or make a fun design!

Water blasters are a fun alternative to water guns for little ones.  Fill buckets with colored water to join in the festival of colors!

Traditional Foods for Holi

Holi is a time to enjoy fresh spring foods that awaken your sense of taste! 

Malpua

Malpua are flavor kissed fried pancakes made with sugar, fennel and cardamom and in some cases banana. Topped with a sugary syrup, they’re a sweet and flavorful way to welcome spring!

Gujiyas

A sweet coconut & mixed nut filled dessert wrapped in fried dough and topped with a simple sugar sauce.

Thandai

A refreshingly cool drink made with milk and fruits, Thandai is a popular beverage to serve on Holi.

Holi Music Playlists

Jam out to Bollywood classics or choose your mood with one of these playlists while you're eating, crafting or celebrating in the streets!

What to Watch on Holi

As Holi is a joyous time, we recommend lighthearted films with uplifting endings.  Comedies and movies that celebrate the beauty of spring or the power of love and forgiveness are all fair game!  A few ideas below:

The Origin Story of Holi

How Holi is Celebrated in India

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017)

A light hearted Bollywood comedy with a Holi scene. Toilet is the story about a woman who leaves her husband on the first day of marriage after discovering his home doesn't have a toilet. Stream with English subtitles on Netflix. 

Holi Colorful Crafts & Activities

If you prefer less of a mess, here are a few other ways to celebrate the colors of spring!

Water Marbling Art is a fun and hypnotic way to get creative with color!

Spin Art is simple to make and abundantly colorful!

Get sculpting with rainbow colored Kinetic Sand! It's a fun tactile experience with little to no mess. 

Decorate a colorful Sand Art sculpture to ring in spring!

Tie-dye your shirts, hats, shoes or shorts to celebrate the colors of spring! 

Enjoy a book about the festival of Holi!

Make colorful handprints or paint your own flowers with washable paint!

Build a colorful spring terrarium!

Holi Hai!

We hope the Holi experience helps lift your stress and joins you together with friends and family!  It's time to grow and blossom.  SPRING IS HERE!! 

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Find More to Celebrate!

We're just getting started!  More celebration guides are on the way.  Sign up for our email list to receive party guides in your inbox!

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