People celebrating Holi with colour powder

What is Holi? The Ultimate Guide

Holi, otherwise known as ‘the festival of colours’ is a vibrant Hindu festival that welcomes in the season of spring. But how exactly did this festival originate and how is it celebrated? 

We’ve taken a look into this wonderful celebration to provide you with everything you need to know about this colourful festival.

Group of people celebrating Holi covered in colour powder

What is Holi? 

The ‘festival of colours’ is an ancient Hindu tradition and one of the most celebrated Hindu festivals, not just in India, but throughout the world. The festival celebrates the blossoming of love, happiness, new life and the arrival of spring, but traditionally the festival celebrates two unique legends in particular. 

The Legend of Radha Krishna and Their Eternal Love

The legend behind this particular aspect of the celebration is that in his youth, Krishna was worried that the fair-skinned Radha wouldn’t like him due to his dark skin colour. His mother intervened and asked him to approach Radha and ask her to colour his face in any colour that she wished. She accepted his offer and they became a couple. 

Ever since, the playful colouring of one’s face has been celebrated during Holi, as has their divine and eternal love for one another.

King Hiranyakashipu & The Triumph of Good Over Evil

King Hiranyakashipu had become virtually indestructible due to a boon granted to him and in turn, demanded that everyone worship only him. However his son Prahlada, who was devoted to Vishn, disagreed.

The King proceeded to subject his son to various cruel punishments, which didn’t break his resolve. Eventually he asked his evil sister Holika for help, who proceeded to trick Prahlada into sitting on a pyr. However, due to her evil intentions and Prahlada’s devotion to Vishnu, her fire resistant cloak protected him instead, once the pyre was set alight. 

This event is still celebrated to this day as Holika Dahan the night before Holi begins, whilst the triumph of good over evil is one of the main celebrations during Holi.

Woman celebrating Holi in India

When is Holi?

The celebration of Holi varies each and every year, due to the fact that Holi is celebrated on the last full moon day of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month. In 2023, Holi will be celebrated on Wednesday 8th March.

Kids celebrating Holi

How is Holi Celebrated?

Once the ritual of Holika Dahan is completed, the celebration of Holi or Rangwali Holi as it’s also known, begins. The celebration of Holi is a joyous one, featuring parties, music, special food and the traditional throwing of colours.

A mix of dry colour powder, water guns and water balloons are used to cover their targets with colour. Everyone in open areas such as streets and parks is fair game, which results in an explosion of colour in the streets of India.

Traditionally only the colour red was used during the festival, but today a wide array of colours are used and each one has a meaning associated with it. For example, red is associated with the tilak, blue is connected with Vishnu, whilst orange represents the strength of the Indian people.

After playing with the colours, everyone heads home to clean up, before heading out to visit relatives and friends to exchange sweets, such as gujiya. This traditional sweet of Holi consists of a dumpling filled with khoya (a dairy product made exclusively with milk) and dried fruits.

This and various street foods such as papri chaat, dal kachouri and gol gappe are consumed too. Whilst the customary drink of the festival is thandai, which contains poppy seeds, peppercorn and almonds.

Group of people celebrating Holi by throwing colour powder

How Do I Celebrate Holi in the UK?

Holi has become a really popular celebration within the UK, with Hindus looking to celebrate the festival of colours in line with their traditions and religious beliefs.

Here at Ministry of Colours we love to join in on the fun and we’re sponsoring both Rangeela 2023, London’s biggest Holi celebration and Leeds Holi Festival at Beaver Works this year. Whilst our colour powder will also be provided to event attendees at London ki Holi, which we’re really excited about.     

But if you can’t make it to a large organised event, you could always throw a colour powder party for you and your friends. Our colour powders are the perfect choice if you’re looking to celebrate Holi in a smaller setting. 

Made from natural ingredients, our colour powders are both non toxic, ensuring that you can party safely. Not only that, our powders won’t stain your clothes either when used correctly. 

However if you’d rather not risk ruining any of the clothes in your wardrobe, we also have white t-shirts and a number of colour accessories for you to wear, ensuring you really look the part.

If you’re thinking of planning a colour powder party and you need help choosing the right products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. A member of our team will be more than happy to help you find the right type of powder for your event. 

Alternatively, take a look at our FAQs to find out more or use our calculator to see how much powder you might need for your event.