Hindu spring festival of colors

Holi ( /ˈhoʊliː/) is a popular ancient Hindu festival, also known as the "festival of spring", the "festival of colours", and the "festival of love". The festival signifies the triumph of good over evil. It originated and is predominantly celebrated in India, but has also spread to other regions of Asia and parts of the Western world through the diaspora from the Indian subcontinent.


  • It begins about ten days before the full moon of the month Phalgun (February-March), but is usually only observed for the last three or four days, terminating with the full moon. This is the spring festival of the Hindus. In the spring season all the trees are filled with sweet smelling flowers. They all proclaim the glory and everlasting beauty of God. They inspire you with hope, joy and a new life, and stir you on to find out the creator and the Indweller, who is hiding Himself in these forms.
    • Swami Sivananda . Hindu Fasts and Festivals, (2001). ISBN: 8170520398,9788170520399
  • This same scene is enacted every year to remind people that those who love God shall be saved, and they that torture the devotee of God shall be reduced to ashes. When Holika was burnt,people abused her and sang the glories of the Lord and of His great devotee, Prahlad. In imitation of that, people even today use abusive language, but unfortunately forget to sing the praises of the Lord and His devotee! In North India, people play joyfully with coloured water. The uncle sprinkles coloured water on his nephew. The niece applies coloured powder on her aunt’s face. Brothers and sisters and cousins play with one another. Huge bundles of wood are gathered and burnt at night, and everywhere one hears shouts of “Holi-ho! Holi-ho!” People stand in the streets and sprinkle coloured water on any man who passes by, be he a rich man or an officer. There is no restriction on this day. It is like the April Fool’s Day of the Europeans. People compose and sing special Holi songs.
    • Swami Sivananda . Hindu Fasts and Festivals, (2001). ISBN: 8170520398,9788170520399
  • Aurangzib's order to the subahdar of Gujrat, 20 Nov. 1665, is clear :—“In the city and parganahs of Ahmadabad (i.e., Gujrat), the Hindus following their superstitious customs light lamps in the night of diwali, and during the days of holi open their mouths in obscene speech and kindle the holi bonfire in chahlas and bazars, throwing into the fire the faggot of all people that they can seize by force or theft. It is ordered that in bazars there should be no illumination at diwali, nobody’s faggot should be taken by force or theft and flung into the holi bonfire, and no obscene language used." (Mirat, 276.) It was really a police regulation as regards holi, and an act of bigotry only in connection with diwali
    • Aurangzeb's order on Holi. Sarkar, Jadunath (1972). History of Aurangzib: Volume III. App. V.
  • The processions are liable to meet in the street, and the lees of the wine of the Hindoos, or the red powder which is substituted for them, is liable to fall upon the tombs of the others. Hindoos pass on, for- getting in their saturnalian joy all distinctions of age, sex, or religion, their clothes and persons besmeared with the red powder, which is moistened and thrown from all kinds of machines over friend and foe ; while meeting these come the Muhammadans, clothed in their green mourning, with gloomy downcast looks, beating their breasts, ready to kill themselves, and too anxious for an excuse to kill any- body else. Let but one drop of the lees of joy fall upon the image of the tomb as it passes, and a hundred swords fly from their scabbards ; many an innocent person falls ; and woe be to the town in which the magistrate is not at hand with his police and military force. Proudly conscious of their power, the magistrates refuse to prohibit one class from laughing because the other happens to be weeping ; and the Hindoos on such occasions laugh the more heartily to let the world see that they are free to do so.
  • The Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb (r. 1658-1707) first intervened in the affairs of the region in 1665, when he prohibited celebrations of Holi and Diwali, and cremation of the dead on the banks of the Yamuna. The Italian traveller, Niccolao Manucci (1638-1717) noted the ban on Holi, “He hindered the Hindus from enjoying their merry-making or carnival ... The time of this festival or carnival falls ordinarily on the moon of March”.
    • Manucci Vol. II 1907: 154. quoted in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history. page 73
  • A farman of Aurangzeb, dated 20th November 1665, contained several discriminatory regulations against Hindus. It stated that on .... on Holi “they open their tongue with foul speech,” and light the Holi fire in every chakla and bazaar. Mughal officers were ordered to make sure that Hindus did not light the bazaars on Diwali, and did not throw sticks into the Holi fire.
    • (Mirat-i-Ahmadi 1965: 261-264). quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Espisodes from Indian history, 198.

External linksEdit

  •   Encyclopedic article on Holi at Wikipedia