Holi Hai! The Ultimate Guide to the Indian Festival of Colours

From Holi recipes to Holi traditions, here's everything you need to know

LF Team

For the rest of the world March may mean the arrival of spring but in India, the change of season translates into the colourful festival of Holi. The desi style of welcoming the new season, Holi is a Hindu spring festival which dates back more than 2,000 years, finding a mention in almost every ancient Hindu scripture. Being an agricultural country at heart, Holi is also a thanksgiving festival for a good harvest and the celebrations are also in the expectation of a good harvest. The festival of Holi celebrates agriculture, fertile land and good spring harvests.

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A two-day festival, Holi begins on the evening of Purnima or Full Moon in the Hindu calendar month of Falgun which occurs in March according to the Gregorian calendar. The 2019 dates for Holi are March 20 and 21. The first evening is called Choti Holi or Small Holi. On the first evening of Holi, a traditional ritual called Holika Dahan is performed at an auspicious time after sunset. The following morning, people dress up in old clothes or all white and prepare to cover themselves and loved ones in powdered and watered colours. The characteristic vibrant colours of Holi that define the festival represent the fields that are in full bloom around this time and a cultural reflection of the various hues of the spring season.

Holi Essentials

You know March in India is around the corner when shops and markets across the country are dotted with heaps of gulaal and powdered colours in several vibrant shades. Pichkaris or water guns, another Holi essential particularly for children, become available in all shapes and sizes, sometimes in innovative designs that match the trends of the year. People also play Holi with water balloons and different types of balloons are available in the market during the time of Holi.

Colours are the most important feature of Holi but removing this colour from your skin can become quite a task once the revelry is over. Click here to know how you can prepare in advance to make sure the colour doesn't leave stubborn stains on your skin. Also, find tips and tricks for hair care and skin care before and after the festival. The best and safest way to celebrate Holi is the eco-friendly way by making your own colours. Find hacks to make your own skin and environment-friendly Holi colours at home.

Thandai Recipes

Apart from the colours and balloons, Holi is incomplete without thandai. The pumping and energetic celebrations of Holi are bound to leave you tired and thirsty. A regular flow of thandai in between the festivities will keep your energy and hydration levels in check. Whether you buy readymade thandai from the market in huge quantities or make your own thandai at home - thandai, a refreshing drink, is a prerequisite for Holi celebrations.

Quick and Easy Thandai Recipe:

Check out this easy thandai recipe by an expert to make huge quantities at home in advance and ensure an uninterrupted flow of thandai at your Holi party.

Thandai Recipes with a Twist:

If you're the kind to do everything off the beaten track, the traditional thandai recipe just won't do. For you, we have 4 off-beat thandai recipes that are certain to become the star of your Holi party. If you thought vegans cannot enjoy thandai, there is a vegan thandai recipe waiting for you. There is also a Bollywood Bhang Thandai Recipe, a Tender Coconut Thandai recipe and a Kulfi Falooda Thandai recipe. So what are you waiting for? Bring out the apron and get experimenting now! Wow your guests with these unique thandai recipes and they are certain to be left wanting for more.

If you still want to add some more variety to the thandai offerings at your Holi party, check out this Rose Mango Thandai recipe.

Dessert Thandai Recipes:

You thought thandai could only be had as a beverage? LF chefs give thandai a dessert avatar with these dessert recipes. For something different this Holi, try Maria Goretti's thandai mousse cake recipe. Follow the baking expert's simple instructions in this recipe video to try the thandai recipe at home.
Holi Hai! The Ultimate Guide to the Indian Festival of Colours

Click here for the step by step recipe
Chef Pankaj Bhadouria too gives thandai a mousse take with this thandai recipe. Follow the chef's simple instructions in this Hindi recipe video to make this thandai recipe at home.
Holi Hai! The Ultimate Guide to the Indian Festival of Colours

Click here for the step by step recipe

Holi Foods and Holi Recipes

Like any festival, Holi too is incomplete without food and since it is an Indian festival, you can be rest assured that there is going to be a lot of food and a whole lot of sweets! Every region in India has its own culinary way to celebrate Holi. When it comes to food, Holi celebrations take the form of plates full of gujiya in Uttar Pradesh, puran poli in Maharashtra, dhuska in Jharkhand and mawa kachori in Rajasthan. This is not all. There are many more delicacies to savour on Holi. Read all about them here and don't forget to try the Holi recipes at home!

Festival of Love and Forgiveness

The festival of colours is also a festival of love that is drenched in communal bonhomie and camaraderie. Holi is an opportunity for people of all ages, from all strata of society and from different religions to come together in celebration, forgetting their differences and simply having a good time.

As a festival, the cultural significance of Holi is that it is a festive day to end and rid oneself of all past errors. The festival is an opportunity for people to forget and forgive any ill feelings they may be holding on to. People often even clear or forgive past emotional or financial debts on this day.

March is usually the time when school children and college students have their exams in India but Holi is such a festival that for one day students forget all about their exams and studies stress to lose themselves in the festival of colours. If you have grown up in India, you will certainly have at least one or two childhood memories of Holi. Your childhood in India is not complete if you haven't been dragged out of your home by your friends on Holi day to celebrate the festival of colours. Celebrities too love Holi and LF got them to spill the beans on their favourite Holi memories from childhood.

Holi Celebrations in India and Around the World
Over time, the festival of colours has not only gained popularity with Indian non-Hindus but with globalisation, people all over the world have to come to call Holi their favourite festival. Within India itself, each region has its own unique way of celebrating Holi. While playing with colours is most common in the northern and western parts of the country, in the southern and eastern parts of the country, Holi celebrations are relatively sober with music, dance and food playing the important role. Read all about the different ways Holi is celebrated in India and around the world.

Legends of Holi

Like any other Indian festival, there are several legends that explain the significance of Holi. Above all, it is a festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil.


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