Rangwali Holi, the festival of colors, is the celebration of Spring, love, and kinship. Image Source: IANS

Rangwali Holi, the festival of colors, is the celebration of Spring, love, and kinship.

In vibrant hues of rang (colors) is observed Holi, one of the most cherished and celebrated festivals of India. Bridging all social strata, cultural and religious boundaries, the festivities of Holi bring communities together who share in the joy of unity and love that knows no language. As Holi marks the onset of spring, it is symbolic of the triumph of good over evil and transcends the idea of love, unity, and kinship.

When is Holi celebrated?
The festival of Holi falls in February or March in the English calendar, corresponding to the end of the full moon or Purnima, called the Falgun (or Phalgun) Purnima in the Hindu month of Falgun. Holika Dahan, observed on the eve of Holi, falls in the Falgun Purnima (7th March 2023, Tuesday), and on the next day, Chaitra Krishna Paksha Pratipada (8th March 2023, Wednesday), Holi is celebrated. The Muhurat for Holi will be the same as the Tithi of Chaitra Krishna Paksha Pratipada, starting on March 07, 6:10 pm and ending on March 08, 7:43 pm. As per the Hindu Calendar, Falgun Purnima marks the end of winter, and the Krishna Paksha Pratipada of Chaitra is celebrated as the beginning of spring, with the festival of Holi.

Holi is a two-day festival observed with much zeal and enthusiasm across the country. Holika Dahan, setting fire to a pyre that is symbolic of burning of the demoness Holika is observed on the first day of the festivities to commemorate the victory of good over evil, this day is also popularly known as "Choti Holi" (Small Holi). Rangwali Holi is celebrated on the second day when people smear and drench each others with colored powder, share sweets, greet each other with Holi wishes and indulge in other fun activities.

Holi 2023 was on March 08,Wednesday

To know the Panchang for Holi, or the Tithi (Lunar Day), Vara (Weekday), Nakshatra (Lunar Mansion), Yoga (the auspicious or inauspicious combination of the Lunar Day and Nakshatra), and Karana (Half of Tithi) and much more, in Hindi, click here.

Students celebrate Rangwali Holi as they play with colored powder. Image Source: IANS

Students celebrate Rangwali Holi as they play with colored powder.

The Story of Holi

There are a few stories that are believed to have led to the festival of Holi.

As the legend goes in the Vishnu Puran and the Bhagvata Puran, Hiranyakashipu, hailed as the King of Demons, warned his son Prahlada against worshiping Lord Vishnu. Prahlada, however, continued to worship the deity with sincere devotion and untamed loyalty, despite the warnings. An infuriated Hiranyakashipu later tortured Prahlada so much, to the unimaginable extent that he tried to kill his son. He abused Prahlada for eight days, from Ashtami to Purnima of the Hindu Phalgun month, but he failed to cause him harm. This period of eight days is observed as Holashtak. Hiranyakashipu entrusted his sister, Holika to kill Prahlada. Holika was born with a blessing that she would never get harmed or killed by fire. She urged, abused and grabbed Prahlada to sit on her lap as she sat on fire with the intention of killing him. However, Prahlada, again, was protected by Lord Vishnu for his undying faith and devotion. He came out completely unharmed while Holika, the demoness, died in the fire. This day is observed as Holika Dahan, and the day after that is celebrated as Holi or Rangwali Holi.

Holi Image Source: Prokerala

According to another legend, a young Krishna grew envious of Radha’s complexion of skin. He raised a question to his foster mother, Yashodha as to why Radha is fair-skinned while he was dark. In response, Yashoda playfully asked him to smear his favorite colors on Radha. Krishna was exhilarated to hear this that he applied various colors on her face, and thus began the festival of Holi.

As goes another legend in the Shiv Puran, Lord Shiva resorted to a meditational trance soon after Sati embraced death by fire. Later reborn as Goddess Parvati, she proposed to marry Lord Shiva, but he ignored her feelings. The Lord of love and carnal desires, Lord Kama Deva was hence summoned to arouse passion in Lord Shiva. On the day of Phalgun Ashtami, he struck Lord Shiva with his floral arrows to arouse feelings in him which disturbed Lord Shiva in his meditation. This infuriated him that he opened his third eye at Kama Deva, burning him to ashes. Lord Kama Deva’s wife Rati prayed and begged of Lord Vishnu to bring her husband back to life. She earned Lord Shiva’s pity, that he revived him from the ashes. This day is observed as Holika Dahan and the day after that is celebrated as the Holi festival.

People dance and sing to Holi special songs and play with colors during the festival of Holi Image Source: IANS

People dance and sing to Holi special songs and play with colors during the festival of Holi

Holi Specials: More photos on Holi Fun. Take a Look!

Regional Celebrations of Holi

Holi is diversely celebrated in different states across the country. Here are nine different traditions of Holi subjected to different states.

  1. Lathmaar Holi: The Holi of Sticks in Barsana in Uttar Pradesh signals violence indicated in the name Lathmaar. On this day, the women folk greet men with sticks to work and toil for their women, and urge men to dance around in feminine clothes, all in the spirit of Holi.
  2. Dulandi Holi: Holi in Haryana is known as Dulandi Holi, when Bhabi (brother’s wife) make their brothers-in-law pay for the pranks they had played on them for the entire year.
  3. Rangpanchami: In Maharashtra, Holi is popularly known as Rangpanchami. The locals also call this festival as Shimga, or Shimgo. They play with colors on the fifth day, as is in the name, when people indulge in dance, music and everything merry.
  4. Basant Utsav: The people of West Bengal celebrate Holi as Basant Utsav with colors, dance, music and chant hymns in serenity to celebrate the arrival of spring.
  5. Dol Purnima: In West Bengal, Holi is also observed as Dol Purnima when students wear garlands over saffron colored clothes and the people sing, dance and pray to Krishna and Radha in dignified disposition.
  6. Hola Mohalla: Hola Mohalla is a three day festival celebrated in Punjab as an annual fair, where the Sikhs showcase and prove their physical strength by performing daring acts.
  7. Shimgo: In Goa, people celebrate Holi as Shimgo, a festival where people play with colors and prepare Shimgo special dishes, and later indulge in cultural performances.
  8. Kaman Pandigai: In Tamil Nadu, people observe Holi as Kaman Pondigal, remembering the sacrifice of Lord Kama Deva on this occasion.
  9. Phagu Purnima: Celebrated in Kathmandu, Phagu Purnima is celebrated in the traditional way. Phagu means sacred red powder and Purnima means Full Moon day.
Women dressed up in elegant attires to celebrate Holi Image Source: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS

Women dressed up in elegant attires to celebrate Holi

Happy Holi!

Important Timings On Holi

SunriseMarch 08, 2023 12:00 AM
SunsetMarch 08, 2023 6:29 PM
Chaitra Krishna Paksha Pratipada March 07, 6:10 PM - March 08, 7:43 PM
Place : Ujjain [ India ] See More

Related Events

Holika Dahan2023 Mar 07 Tuesday


1) Why is Lord Krishna and Radha worshiped during Holi?

Commemorating the legend of young Krishna who smeared colors on Radha’s fair skin, Holi celebrates and worships the Hindu Lord Radha Krishna. As the legend goes, a young Krishna grew envious of Radha’s skin complexion and he playfully applied various colors on her face, and thus began the festival of Holi.

2) What significance and meaning do the colors used in Holi hold?

Each color holds a special meaning.

  • Red is symbolic of strength and power and it is the color of passion and energy.
  • The color of enthusiasm and emotions, Orange emanates warmth and joy.
  • The cheerful Yellow is the color of energy, optimism and confidence.
  • A gorgeous Green promises growth, prosperity, harmony and health.
  • Blue stands for trust and loyalty.
  • Purple is the color of sprituality and imagination.
  • The color Pink denotes love and compassion.

3) Who is Hiranyakashipu?

The King of Demons, Hiranyakashipu, often hailed as the evil king during Holi festival. He impeded his son, Prahlada from worshiping Lord Vishnu and even tried to kill him for that matter. Hiranyakashipu also entrusted his sister, Holika to hurt and torture his son when he failed to do so himself.

Holi festival dates between 2020 & 2030

2020Tuesday, 10th of March
2021Monday, 29th of March
2022Friday, 18th of March
2023Wednesday, 8th of March
2024Monday, 25th of March
2025Friday, 14th of March
2026Tuesday, 3rd of March
2027Monday, 22nd of March
2028Saturday, 11th of March
2029Thursday, 1st of March
2030Wednesday, 20th of March

Other Related Festivals