Religious Studies KS2: Celebrating the festival of Holi

14-year-old Simran and 11-year-old Vraj are excited about the spring festival of Holi.

It celebrates new life, and the victory of good over evil.

We hear the story of Prince Prahlad, a pious boy who insisted on worshiping the God Vishnu instead of his father the king. Prahlad’s aunt Holika tried to kill him on a bonfire, but the flames killed her instead.

Hindus mark the festival by building bonfires which they believe purify the air of anything evil.

We see the children at a Holi bonfire, putting coconuts on the fire.

Offerings such as popcorn, coconuts and chick peas are thrown onto the fire as offerings to God, to say thank you for the spring and the crops.

Holi is also known as the festival of colour, when Hindus celebrate the beauty of colour that God has put into the world.

The children have a lot of fun throwing coloured paint at each other with their friends.

Different colours symbolise different virtues of the soul, such as power, purity and love.

On this day there are no rules, and they can throw colours at anyone without being told off.

This is from the collection: My Life, My Religion - Hinduism

Teacher Notes

Focus on the rule-breaking aspects of Holi, the paint-throwing, the bonfires and so on.

Ask them to think of festivals in other cultures where normal rules are suspended.

All Hallows Eve (Halloween) and Red Nose Day give good examples.

There are many others: on Maundy Thursday the Queen gives money away.

The Pope washes the feet of poor people.

Ask the children, for fun and understanding, to look at the school rules and devise a one-day festival of wildness for the school, where rules are all turned upside down.

It’s meant to be fun, not nasty. Sociologists of religion draw attention to this feature of festivals: normal rules are suspended for fun and for thoughtfulness.

Curriculum Notes

These clips will be relevant for teaching Religious Education at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and First and Second Level in Scotland.

More from the series: My Life, My Religion - Hinduism

A Hindu wedding ceremony
A Pilgrimage in Hinduism
The Cycle of Birth and Rebirth
Meeting two young British Hindus
Celebrating Raksha Bandan
Inside a Hindu Temple
Diwali - the festival of light