What is Holi?
The Holi festival got its name as the "Festival of Colors" from Lord Krishna, a re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to play pranks on the village girls by drenching them in water and colors. Unwavering devotion to Lord Vishnu, the Hindu God of preservation, enabled the destruction of demoness Holika.
Holi is a very carefree festival that’s great fun to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. You'll end up saturated in water, with color all over your skin and clothes. The Holi pictures in this photo gallery show what the festival is like in India.
Holi Colors for Sale
Roadside stalls and shops throughout India sell colored powder and water guns for Holi celebrations.
Holi Colors Ready to Throw
These men have bags of colored powder, ready to throw at people they encounter.
Watch out! People love to smear color all over your face during Holi, and they'll often sneak up behind you and take you by surprise. It's all part of the fun.
Throwing Holi Colors
Even better if you can throw color on people from above! This huge celebration takes place at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan.
Temple Priest Praying
One of the priests of Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan praying at the beginning of Holi festival celebrations.
Throwing Colored Water
You're most likely to get wet as well as dirty, as buckets of colored water are thrown around and water guns are used to squirt people.
Holi isn't just all about color! A group of women beat a man holding a shield over his head with sticks during Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of Nandgaon near Mathura in India. This takes place about a week before the main day of Holi.
Read more about the 10 Ways and Places to Celebrate the Holi Festival.
The week-long celebrations at Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan are also legendary. The festivities start there with the throwing of flowers, called Phoolon Wali Holi, by the temple priests. This takes place on the Ekadashi before Holi. The temple gates open around 4 p.m., and the throwing of the flowers is over in about 15 minutes. So, don't miss it!
Drumming and Musicians
Bands of drummers commonly roam the streets during the holi festival, and plenty of drumming goes on during temple celebrations too.
Music and dancing is a huge part of the Holi festival. Rain dances (dancing under sprinklers to music) are widely held.
Covered in Color
If you decide to give involved in the Holi celebrations, be prepared to be completely drenched and covered in color! The red doesn't wash out easily, so be sure to wear old clothes. It's also a good idea to rub hair oil or coconut oil into your skin beforehand, to prevent the color from absorbing. It stains pale skin very easily!