What is Holi?

Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates spring, love, and new life.

Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun. It's a colourful festival, with dancing, singing and throwing of powder paint and coloured water.

Holi is also known as the "festival of colours".

When is Holi?

Holi marks the arrival of spring and the end of winter. It is usually celebrated in March.

In 2020 Holi will begin on Monday 9 March.

What is the story of Holi?

Holi also celebrates the Hindu god Krishna and the legend of Holika and Prahlad.

Hiranyakashipu an evil king.

Hiranyakashipu was an evil king. He had special powers that made him nearly invincible and he wanted everyone in his kingdom to worship him.

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How is Holi celebrated?

On the first night of Holi, people light bonfires and throw roasting grains, popcorn, coconut and chickpeas onto them.

The next day, people of all ages go into the streets for fun and paint-throwing. Everyone gets involved!

Hindus have fun by smearing each other with paint and throwing coloured water.

Holi celebrations in Northern India.
Holi celebrations in Northern India.
A girl and her grandma covered in coloured powder

What do the Holi colours mean?

Some people believe the Holi colours came from Krishna mischievously throwing coloured water over his milkmaids when he was a boy. This developed into the practical jokes and games of Holi.

Where next?

What is Hinduism?
What is Diwali?
Bitesize Primary KS2