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Celebrate Holi with Friends and Family, and Live Colorfully

Snow is melting, temperatures are rising, and the gray of winter is about to disappear into brilliant bursts of color!

Sarah Burns

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Holi is often referred to as the Festival of Love, the Festival of Spring, and the Festival of Color — all names that offer hints to the meaning of this exuberant holiday! Just as plants and animals re-emerge and bloom during the spring, Holi represents a season of rebirth and fresh starts. Holi is an important Hindu holiday, with great festivals held throughout India, but is also honored in various cultures and countries around the world with dazzling, rainbow-like celebrations. 

Holi kicks off on the last full moon day of the Hindu lunar-solar calendar, and usually falls in March. This year, Holi lands on March 17th! It's a time to greet the return of spring, and rejoice in the power of good over evil with laughter, delicious food, and songs and stories — and best of all, it's time to play Holi with spectacular busts of color!

What's the Story of Holi?

The Legend of Holika and Prahalad, an allegorical tale of the triumph of good over evil, helps explain the origins of this colorful holiday.

A long time ago, India was ruled by a tyrannical king named Hiranyakashipu, who insisted he be worshiped as a god. His son, Prahalad, was loyal to the god Vishnu, and refused to give in to his father’s demands. As punishment, Hiayakashipu sentenced his son to death. He commanded his sister, the demon Holika Dahan, to help him carry out the sentence, but Prahalad’s unwavering devotion to Vishnu saved him.

Want to learn more of the story? Check out this charming animation by MocomiKids for all the suspenseful, kid-friendly details of this classic tale!  

How Do People Celebrate Holi?

Holi Bonfire

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A large bonfire is lit on the eve of Holi, also called Holika Dahan. These bonfire gatherings are full of stories, singing and dancing, and are thought to keep away negativity.  The next day is Holi, and the celebration lasts all day, but can last as long as 2 weeks in parts of India. People visit from all over the world to experience this festival of colors, but no matter where you live you can still join this celebration dedicated to having fun with loved ones, eating and sharing sweets, enjoying scrumptious food, and being carefree! 

So, What’s With All the Colors?

Playing Holi

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Celebrants "play Holi" with handfuls of powdered pigments that are playfully tossed at one another, often wearing white to make the colors really stand out! Some people also use a water gun called a pichkari to help the pigment stick to the skin and clothes. 

This Holi tradition has a backstory, too: It’s said that Lord Vishnu reincarnated back to earth as Lord Krishna, the god of love and compassion. Lord Krishna had a playful nature, and celebrated Holi by pulling pranks on his loved ones — including playing Holi with powdered pigments. He encouraged his community to join in on the fun, and the tradition remains to this day!

Traditional Holi Snacks and Treats

Holi is a time to relax, let your worries go, and treat yourself, which makes it the perfect excuse to feast on some delicious traditional Holi foods! Hebber’s Kitchen offers up six easy recipes for tantalizing Holi sweets and snacks like mouthwatering samosas, and sweet, crispy malpua. 

Crafts and Art Projects for Holi

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Maybe it’s the excitement buzzing in the air, the good vibes, or all the brilliant colors flying about, but keying into your creativity is a wonderful way to capture the spirit of Holi! Here are a few ideas:

Craft a Flameless Holi Bonfire

No space for a raging bonfire? Get in the spirit and craft this flame-free, living-room-floor friendly version as a family. Less heat, but all the warm glow of celebrating together!

DIY Holi Powder

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My Little Moppet

Holi powder — also known as gulaal or abir — is usually made from rice flour, cornstarch, and food-grade pigments. Pre-packaged powders can sometimes cause irritation, so if you’re worried about sensitive skin, try making your own! My Little Moppet shows you how to mix up 7 eco-friendly color powders perfect for vibrant color chaos.

Construct a Paper Pichkari

Playing with water shooters is fun, but not exactly an option indoors. If you’re looking to avoid the drizzle without losing a drop of fun, pick out your favorite paper patterns, and make your own pichkari — all the fun of a colorful water shooter, without the water!