As an international student, I don’t get to celebrate my favorite festivals with as much vigor and pomp as I would back home. My friends and I have small, fun celebrations here and often drag our non-international friends with us too. One festival that is fast-approaching (on March 8th, 2023) is Holi.
Known as the festival of colors, Holi (a Hindu festival) celebrates the arrival of summer in India after the end of winter along with a number of other important events. Early morning bonfires on the day of the festival symbolize the burning of the demoness Holika who attempted to kill her nephew Prahlada at the beckoning of her brother. Later in the day, people don all-white clothing and throw colored water/powdered colors (called ‘gulal’) on each other while dancing to music and having the time of their lives, as shown here.
Holi is celebrated on the last full-moon (known as ‘Purnima’) in March or the last full-moon day of ‘Phalguna’ which corresponds to either the end of February or the beginning of March depending on the year in the Gregorian Calendar.
Along with water balloon fights and a certain Holi-special-drink known as ‘bhang’ (edible preparation made from cannabis leaves mixed in milk), Holi also hosts a huge feast of amazing dishes like dahi vada, thandai, and gulab jamun.
Celebrated by almost a billion people every year (holi cow, that’s a lot!), Holi is slowly becoming more and more popular in other countries outside of India. If you can, join a Holi celebration and you will have the time of your life!