One of the most internationally recognized festivals in India, the Holi Festival is a famous festival celebrating the victory of good over evil. One of the main acts to commemorate this is by burning the demoness called Holika. The Hindu God, Vishnu, is praised during the festival as God of Preservation for having made it possible to destroy the demoness.
The reincarnation of Vishnu was Krishna, another famous Hindu God, who was a playful character that enjoyed throwing colors and water over children. The name “Holi” was labelled as the Festival of Colors due to Krishna’s vibrant and colorful character.
The Holi Festival in India is also celebrated by many as a festival of spring and can also be interpreted as a thanksgiving-style festival for the abundant harvest season.
Holi Festival Location in India
The Holi Festival is celebrated all over India with some of the most memorable festival parties taking place in Vrindavan and Mathura, neighboring cities. You can travel to either from Delhi in approximately 3-4 hours. Alternatively, travelers who plan on visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra or traveling the iconic Golden Triangle route can travel to either city in roughly an hour from the city of Agra.
The festivals are largest in these cities because it is believed that Krishna was born and grew up there. Unfortunately, given that the festival is at its biggest in these locations, safety issues are a concern, particularly for women. If you want to see one of the biggest Holi festivals, it is advisable to travel in a group or even book a tour or excursion.
To experience the ultimate Holi festival, there are plenty of other destinations in India that can be visited. Celebrations for the festival are held in many parts of India. Tourists who enjoy touring Rajasthan can make pit stops at Jaipur or Pushkar and take part in numerous Holi parties. Many hostels go out of their way to welcome tourists and organize festivities for tourist groups.
Mumbai is a top travel destination during March and many Holi parties are held in several locations. The number of events are numerous and the locations vary from clubs and streets to blissful beach atmospheres.
When is Holi Festival in 2020?
Holi festival is celebrated after the full moon in March, this means that it falls on a different date each year.
In Odisha and West Bengal, the festival often takes place one day earlier and festivities in some areas of India begin up to one week beforehand.
The day before Holi a large bonfire is lit known as the Holika Dahan ritual.
In 2020 Holi is on 10th March with Holika Dahan on 9th March.
To avoid misfortune, the Holika Dahan bonfire must not be burned before sunset on 9th March, this means that perfect timings for 2020 are:
- In Mumbai from 6.47 pm to 9.11 pm
- In Delhi from 6.26 pm to 8.52 pm
Celebrations and Safety at Holi Festival
Holi Festival is renowned for its exuberant use of color, dust, and water. There are a couple of things to take into account when attending Holi Festival in India.
Tips for Holi Festival:
- Wear clothes that you are able to throw away afterward
- Cover up as much as possible to avoid staining your skin
- Rub coconut oil on visible body parts to prevent the color from absorbing
- Wear sunglasses to avoid getting chemicals in your eyes
Please note that it is considered dangerous to attend these festivals alone, particularly for women. The festival is seen by some as an opportunity to ignore and disrespect social norms which can result in inappropriate touching or worse. Please bear in mind that at this festival, people will also throw color powder, water, dust, and more over you, sometimes even rubbing it into your face and ears.
A good way of enjoying the festival before things get taken too far is attending the festival in the morning and leaving by midday, when the party starts to get more intense.