hands covered in coloured powder

What do you know about Holi? Read the article to find out about this very colourful festival, celebrated by Hindus all over the world.


Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises to check your understanding. 

What and when is Holi?

Holi is an ancient Hindu festival that originated in India and Nepal and is now celebrated in many places around the world. Holi marks the beginning of spring. The date changes each year, depending on the full moon, but it is held sometime between the end of February and the middle of March and lasts a night and a day.  

What does Holi celebrate?

Holi is a celebration of good winning over evil. It is also a time to forgive people, make peace and repair broken relationships, as well as playing and having fun.  

What happens on Holika Dahan?

The festivities start on the night before Holi, which is called Holika Dahan. People build bonfires that represent good winning over evil and the end of winter. In ancient stories, the god Vishna destroyed a powerful evil being, called Holika, through fire. People start collecting wood several days before so that they can build really big fires, and on Holika Dahan they meet around the bonfire to sing, dance and do other traditional activities.  

What happens on Rangwali Holi?

The next day is called Rangwali Holi. In the morning everyone goes outside and throws coloured powders and water at each other. Some people use water guns and water balloons. There is music and drumming, and people run and laugh in the streets and parks. After a few hours everyone is wet and covered in a rainbow of different colours. In the evening people put on clean clothes and go and visit their friends and family. They share traditional food and drink, such as gujiya, a sweet made with dried fruit and nuts, and thandai, a delicious cold milk drink with nuts and spices.  

Why do people throw colours?

Some people say that the colours are a way of celebrating the many colours of the flowers in springtime. But in some places, people also tell a story about the god Krishna. Krishna was passionately in love with a girl called Radha, but he was worried that she would not love him because their skins were different colours. Radha let him paint her face the same colour as his to show that she loved him. It is said that lovers nowadays often paint their faces the same colour during Holi to remember this story.  

Can everyone celebrate Holi?

Holi celebrations are hundreds of years old. But recently, Holi-themed events have become popular with a new generation in Europe and North America. Many thousands of people go to Holi events, attracted by the bright colours and playful atmosphere. Holi has a friendly and inclusive spirit, so non-Hindus are often welcomed to join the celebrations. If you don't identify as Hindu, it's respectful to learn about how Holi is celebrated in India and Nepal before participating in this colourful festival. Happy Holi!


Do you celebrate Holi? Is there a festival with lots of colours where you live?

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Submitted by gabioliveira1001 on Sun, 05/01/2022 - 22:25

No, I don't celebrate the Holi.

Submitted by Senbo on Sat, 09/04/2021 - 03:33

Personally, I don't celebrate Holi but it sound like a very happy tradition and I like it, i hope that I can celebrate it someday

Submitted by Nihilanth on Sat, 09/04/2021 - 01:38

We do not celebrate Holi in our contry, but i think that its a very interesting festival, and i think it would be quite funny to see people going outside and throwing coloured paint powders at each other

Submitted by Crys on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 16:00

For me, holi is a very entertaining tradition that promotes the inclusion of all people and when using colors I find it very striking

Submitted by wmsmp on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:57

We don't celebrate Holi, but I think we should since it's a very lively celebration with a meaningful purpose which, besides being pretty funny, it allows people to strengthen they relationship with friends and family or build/make new friends.

Submitted by Crys on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:54

BENJA M: for me, holi is a very interesting, very striking and very entertaining celebration that could be included in my country

Submitted by Catalina on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:51

I personally have not celebrated it but I find it very interesting and fun

Submitted by Gonza on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:47

In my opinion the holi celebration is a moment that makes the whole community happy, it is a celebration that everyone enjoys the arrival of spring, the celebration could be extended to the rest of the world to be able to have a good day, wherever it is it is just games and fun

Submitted by iiRiiSsSsS on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:47

I personally think this celebration is so beautiful, interesting and a lot of fun. It's a festival i would definitely attend for its beautiful colors, music and dance.I find it very captivating that they continue with an ancient tradition and remembering the legends that began with this festival.

Submitted by Sad_Heisenberg on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:42

Even if i don´t agree with religious tradition ´cause they can be sometimes harmeful for people, i got to say that this is a fun exception and an actually entertaining, interesting tradition. I kinda like it.

Submitted by ari789 on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:42

i find the holi party something too creative and i dont know if ir is a celebarted in chile , but is a very clear de cute simbolisim of color and religion

Submitted by monselizhe on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:41

I did not know about this party, I never celebrated it or heard anyone do it. but it seems to me a beautiful tradition with a message beyond the colors

Submitted by Daninii on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:36

I have never celebrated the Holi festival, although it looks to me a very interesting and fun celebration, I would appreciate going to one of these festivals in the future with my family and friends, and have fun throwing colors at other people.

Submitted by ari789 on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:33

I don't celebrate Holi but when I was younger I wanted to go to "Color run" in Chile, anyways I would love to experience this celebration because it has a beautiful meaning and I love that people throw powder paint to each other to celebrate good winning over evil. -kemy

Submitted by iiRiiSsSsS on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:32

I personally think this celebration is so beautiful, interesting and a lot of fun. It's a festival i would definitely attend

Submitted by valderrama on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:29

I think thai it looks like a wonderful, funny, and colorful tradition, that represents a part of Indian culture. It is also celebrated in countrys like UK, organized by the British-Hindu community. It seems like a very interesting celebration, and i would like to be there to participate at least once

Submitted by Nihilanth on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 15:19

We do not celebrate Holi in my country, but i think that is a very fun, playful and interesting festival and think it would be quite funny to see people going outside and throwing coloured paint powder at each other

Submitted by vicho on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 13:49

the truth is that I have never celebrated or commemorated this tradition, but reading this is something very entertaining and didactic to welcome spring in a more entertaining way
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Submitted by Esteban on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 01:16

Holi is an interesting celebration on the theme of colors and spring. You can cross borders even reaching the United Kingdom.

Submitted by Jaoh on Fri, 09/03/2021 - 00:38

Personally, I have never celebrated this party but I think that if I can ever be at this party I think I would like it a lot. Jose

Submitted by Berrios on Thu, 09/02/2021 - 22:44

i don't celebrate holi but it sounds very interesting and fun

Submitted by RuiKz on Thu, 09/02/2021 - 03:14

I do not celebrate Holi since it is the first time. I have heard about the festival that means the beginning of spring

Submitted by Nicolas on Thu, 09/02/2021 - 02:16

Holi is not celebrated in my country, but I would like to celebrate this event as it sounds fun and interesting.

Submitted by Feliponsio725 on Wed, 09/01/2021 - 23:09

Although the holi festival is not celebrated in my country, I find it very funny that in this festival people chase each other and throw colored powder paint on each other. Something I would like to go to the holi festival in london since it is my favorite city and see the brightly colored decorations

Submitted by Bestekkolas on Wed, 09/01/2021 - 16:08

The truth is that I have never heard of Holi in my country, but it seems to me to be a very happy and interesting tradition :D

Submitted by renaelcoringa on Wed, 09/01/2021 - 16:02

I hope we can see this in my country, it sounds like a lot of fun to me
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Submitted by Cfvdv on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 17:21

No, we don’t celebrate Holi in my country, but I think this festival is interesting and very nice to go.

Submitted by Arivelde on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 16:41

In my country every year have a big Holi event/party, but I've never been to it.

Submitted by Sadwiks on Sun, 03/29/2020 - 09:36

I don't celebrate this festiwal in my country but I think it's funny and interesting

Submitted by Assia on Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:02

I don't celebrate Holi, but I think is a great festival. It is a festival of unity, everything becomes so colorful.

Submitted by sofiacap on Mon, 03/23/2020 - 20:48

I don't crelebrate the Holi but it sounds so funny and good. I would love to celebrate it someday with my friends.
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Submitted by Shashi on Sun, 03/15/2020 - 02:49

I don't celebrate in Holi festival. I like to celebrate Holi. I think should be so fun.
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Submitted by Traveller on Sun, 02/16/2020 - 11:23

I'm interested in India. But not only India, in other cultures and countries too... I have a lot Indian friends. And i made a presentation a few weeks ago about India. That was a great experience for me! Love you)
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Submitted by Andrii on Wed, 01/08/2020 - 15:45

We don't celebrate Holi in our country but i think it should be funny. I don't mind been multicolour :D

Submitted by HappyCat on Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:33

In my country Holi became popular but unfortunately I only sow it from the window of the car . Next year I want to be part of the celebration of Holi :) :з
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Submitted by Youjiro on Fri, 02/15/2019 - 00:34

It's seem a lot of original things in Holi celebration .I guess Holi is dirty for our body and hand. I don't want to do that.My skin is week ,It is bad for me.It seem like painting but not interesting in my mind.

Submitted by cerveram on Thu, 01/03/2019 - 10:09

I think that this text its very interesting and complet. The Holi celebrations seems a lot of funny. The best thing its that we can celebrate in any country.
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Submitted by Batgirl on Fri, 04/13/2018 - 16:09

We don't celebrate Holi in my country but I think it is a very exciting and interesting holiday!
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Submitted by empty on Sun, 06/16/2019 - 07:42

Hi Batgirl . I see you are very active in British Council and I like it ! I wish I was like you .

In reply to by Batgirl

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Submitted by SLMT on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 12:53

Holi become popular these days in my country. Some universities held Holi before a semester is finished.I have never celebrated Holiday yet. I saw photos of Holi on internet.It’s quite interesting.I really want to participate Holi when I am getting older.
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