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Holi: Know The Basics Of The Hindu Festival Of Colors

Holi

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 03/19/2011 11:25 am Updated: 05/25/2011 6:40 pm

In 2011, Holi will be celebrated on March 19 and 20.

Holi is an annual festival celebrated by Hindus on the final full moon of the month Phalguna. Usually falling in March, Holi marks the coming of spring and is commonly known as the "Festival of Colors."

The celebration of Holi usually spans over two days with the festivals beginning with public bonfires and gatherings on the night of the full moon. It continues the following day with public festivities that feature the wearing and throwing of colored powders and liquids.

Holi commemorates the mythological tale of Hiranyakashipu and his son Prahlada. Prahlada is a devotee of Lord Vishnu who protects him in a series of murder attempts by his father. The bonfires of Holi represent one of these attempts in which Hiranyakashipu attempted to burn his son alive.

Despite this significance, Holi is generally considered to be one of the least religious festivals in the Hindu calendar. It largely developed as an agricultural holiday to praise the change of seasons and is widely loved for the general loosening of social norms associated with its celebration. The holiday's festivities serve as a joyous bridge across the social divisions that normally play an important role in Hindu society. The holiday is an occasion for all people, regardless of gender, age, wealth, or caste to join in the fun that takes place in the temples and streets of India and in cities around the world with large Hindu populations.

As is the case with many Hindu festivals, the observance of Holi can vary widely from region to region. In some areas the festival can last for much longer than the standard two days, and many Holi festivals have specific rituals that are oriented to their history and the deities that are associated with them.

Future Holi Dates are:

Holi 2012: March 8,9

Holi 2013: March 27, 28

Holi 2014: March 17, 18

Holi 2015: March 6, 7

Holi 2016: March 23, 24

Holi 2017: March 13, 14

Holi 2018: March 2, 3

Holi 2019: March 21, 22

Holi 2020: March 10, 11

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