Photo taken from http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2016/03/holi-festival-colours-160324071718985.html Bikas Das/AP
On March 23 and 24 this year (depending on where you live), Hindus all across the world celebrated Holi, a festival of color and spring. It’s one of India’s biggest and most popular celebrations, characterized by people throwing colored powder and water on each other. However, there’s a lot more to it than that. So, if you want to learn more about this really cool holiday, read on!
If you’d like to learn all about Holi – the religious and mythological stories, the symbolism, the foods, etc – I recommend that you click here or here. Both are chock full of information about Holika and Prahlad, bhang and Puran Poli, and so much more. If you only have time to read one, I’d recommend the second one: it has more pictures and is better edited.
If, for some reason, you prefer more Western interpretations of Holi, you could click here for an article from Metro about how Holi is celebrated in the UK, here for the Huffington Post’s take, or here for words of wisdom from a travel guide. The Metro article puts you in touch with how to celebrate it in UK, even if you’re not Hindu, and the travel guide gives you such helpful hints as, “There may be drunk men about.” All are fairly short and good for forward to friends or family members. However, if you can only send one, I would choose this one from World Religion News. It’s snappy and well edited, though the writer does make the mistake of calling Holi’s origins “mythological” instead of religious.
There are many different ways to celebrate Holi, and it all depends on your family, your geographical location, and your personal inclinations. If you click here, you can learn about 12 unique Holi celebrations in different Indian cities. There you’ll learn about feats of strength, human pyramids, bonfires, and more. If you click here, you can see how different people like politicians, Bollywood actors, and children celebrated. The article even comes with extra links if you’d like to learn more. Then you can click here for a video of Indian widows celebrating Holi. It’s wonderful and cute and makes me really happy.
Unsurprisingly, people in the US do celebrate Holi – and not just Hindus, either (which may be problematic, but that’s a topic for another day). A brief summary is available here, though I would warn you that its section on the US is pretty scanty. A better resource is here, which is about the Holi Festival of Colors that takes place in the US. It tells you how to plan your own events, how to find one, and how to put together coloring packets. I can’t tell if it’s horrifically appropriative or not. Use your best judgment.
Finally, the best part of Holi (if you can’t celebrate it, anyway) is seeing all the smiling, happy, COLORFUL pictures! Google Doodles kicked it off with this cool interactive doodle. For a more authentic look, click here for pictures from The Indian Express or here for pictures from Al-Jazeera. You can even fire up your Pinterest account or click here to see some cool pictures. Either way, I guarantee you’ll be delighted.