Coldplay fell in love with it, so what are you waiting for? Get your cameras out and be ready for one of the best experiences of your life. From 19th – 20th March, India and the world celebrate bright, bold colors. Any doubts? Check out our Holi collection that walks you through the traditions of this incredible celebration.

What is Holi about?

1. India’s extraordinary spring fling

Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi  celebration in India

The Holi festival signals the start of the spring season. This predominantly Hindu festival is celebrated all over the country, with some parts often indulging in this colorful fest throughout the entire week.

2. The triumph of good vs evil

Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi  celebration in India

The first day of holi, Holika Dahan, sees the celebration of good vs evil. Legend has it, King Hiranyakashyap believed he was he leader of the universe. However, his son, Prahlad, worshiped Vishnu, the Hindu God.

Furious, the King and his demon sister, Holika decided to kill the traitor by walking him into a bonfire. But the tables were turned when Prahlad was saved by Vishnu, and instead, Holika was set ablaze. Therefore, giving birth to the lighting of bonfires on the first night of Holi to commemorate this victory.  

3. A tribute to the greatest love story

Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi  celebration in India with kids throwing colors

The second day of Holi marks the throwing and smearing of colors. Also known as Rangwali Holi, this tradition was born from Krishna’s love story with Radha.

The Hindu God, Krishna stood out from the crowd with his vibrant blue skin. He then decided to turn the tables on his partner by smearing her face with colorful powders. And the rest as they say, is history.

How is Holi celebrated in India?

4. Colors of Holi

Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi colors in India

No guesses to the most important element of this celebration. These colored powders are sold in streets all across the country. For an extra dose of fun, arm yourself with a water gun or two.

5. A little bhang goes a long way

Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi  celebration in India with man drinking bhang

The bhang is not just for hippie, dreadlock-loving travelers. Made from cannabis and into a lassi, this iconic concoction is considered an essential in local culture, with strong roots in the holy city of Varanasi, Ayurvedic healing and Lord Shiva’s apparent trip to the Himalayas to bring this iconic ingredient back home.

6. Explosion of colors

Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi  celebration in India

With the stage set, it’s now time to paint the town and the streets into a map of rainbow.

7. Latimar Holi

Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi  celebration in India with Latimar Holi

Holi is steeped in history, which only adds to its allure. In the town of Barsana and Nandgaon, women gather around and take the opportunity to beat up men, all in the name of humor.

This amusing tradition began when Krishna, who hails from Nandgaon, teased Radha and her friends in Barsana. In turn, the girl gang decided to take things into their own hands. So if your man has been misbehaving, it’s payback time!

8. The aftermath – time for a bath!

Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi  celebration in India with girl spraying water
Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Holi  celebration in India with boy's colorful face
Exploring Holi: India’s Marriage of Colors and Traditions 123RF Blog - Post Holi celebration in India with men riding on motorbike

For more Holi inspiration, check out this specially curated likebox. Additionally, read up on more festive inspiration with our feature on Spain’s wildest street party.