People & Culture

How India celebrates Holi

How Indians celebrate Holi across the country

Contributor: Priya Narayan, Features Lifestyle Writer

Holi is a festival of colours celebrated in the month of March in India. It marks the end of winter and the onset of spring.  This festival is pompously celebrated in the Northern States of India.  Let us have a look how different communities get together to celebrate Holi

Manavi Asrani is a Sindhi who resides in Mumbai. She beautifully explains how their community celebrates Holi.  Sindhi’s celebrate Holi by playing with colours and water. In some communities, there is a custom to burn Holika, a bonfire the previous night.

Daughters and son-in-laws visit their in-law’s house in the evening and since one does not play with colours post noon, they celebrate by showering red rose petals. This day is known as Dhuriyo. Sindhis being food lovers, none of their festivities would be complete without food delicacies. Sindhis prepare delicious samosas of two varieties, sweet with mawa and the regular namkeen ones at home.  Sindhi special sweets called gheear, big jalebi and pragri, crunchy puff filled with mawa are available at Sindhi sweet shops only a few days before Holi.

Ram C, Business and IT Consultant say that only in Telangana people celebrate Holi. One to two days before Holi, kids visit homes/business places asking for some money/gift (it’s like Halloween in Western Countries). Even some ladies and the gents do the same.  They sing songs in front of homes or business places.  One night before Holi, people throw all the waste and unused material, especially wooden furniture into the bonfire to clear the clutter. On Holi people wear old clothes and play with colours and water.  Some also drink bhang, a mild preparation of marijuana, mixed with milk – a customary drink during the festival of colours. In the afternoon, people go to nearby lakes, rivers or water streams, take bath, wear new dresses and enjoy the festival with non-vegetarian foods and sweets.

Celebrating the colours of life

However, it is interesting to note that the other Southern states of India do not have a tradition of celebrating Holi. But with exposure to media, some people have started playing with colours and water on Holi. Few South Indians make Puran Polis,  kheer and a vegetarian feast on this day and offer it to God.

Vandana Rajpara, a  Gujarati who resides in Mumbai shares with us her family tradition of Holi. Gujaratis and most of the North Indians take their children to a place where Holika is burnt the previous night. They carry with them mango, coconut, corn, rice, agarbatti and a pot of water. They wear a red chunri around their shoulders and along with their children they do  3, 5 or 7 parikramas (going around the bonfire). Then they offer water, rice, mango, coconut and corn to the fire.  This signifies that the first crop of the season is offered to God. Only after this will they eat the first mango.  They also pray for the well being of their children. The next day everyone plays with colours and water.  They traditionally prepare fafda, jalebi and Puran Poli and the complete family enjoy a sumptuous lunch together.

The Lifestyle Portal wishes everyone a Happy, Safe & a Dry Holi. 

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Tanya is a graduate in Sociology from Sophia College, Mumbai, a post-graduate in Communications and Media from SNDT Women’s University in Mumbai and holds a Master's Degree in Journalis & Mass Communications from Chandigarh University. A former writing mentor and a seasoned lifestyle writer, Tanya writes columns on The Lifestyle Portal of life and living.

2 thoughts on “How India celebrates Holi

  • Nikil Krrishna

    The article very well gives a picturesque of how Holi is celebrated across the country. Very useful article. Keep writing about more such festivals.

  • Elliot lillevang

    Really interesting and exiting article. Well written 🙂


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