Holi – a glorious festival of colour

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller
holi festival

The festival of Holi became internationally famous for throwing of colour. It’s a glorious festival of colour, which is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month, which this year began at sunset on Sunday 24 March, and continued until sunset on last night, Monday 25 March.

Holi is part of the Hindu religious festival lasting up to 16 days, where the main day is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and coloured water at each other.

It has come to symbolise communal harmony and love, the losing of one’s social identity for a brief time in a sea of colour. Traditionally on the day of Holi, people exchange gifts and sweets and anoint each other with colour to celebrate the joy of life.  Gone are the times of anointing, it certain feels like colour is literally raining down on you!

There are many stalls where you can buy bags of colour and then it’s  game on.  If you dare to venture outside there’s no way you’re going to come home anything other than colourful!

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It certainly brings back many happy memories when I was lucky enough to be in Nepal during Holi. Wow, what an experience! I was covered from head to toe in coloured powder, which was OK until they threw water on you, then it really sets in. 

My hair was stained like a rainbow for months, reminding me of happy holi! I had so much fun that I completely forgot to take any photos. I hope these photos give you an idea of what it was like. Maybe one for your colour bucket list!

Wishing you a colourful day,
Karen x

Images via unsplash: Yogendra SinghVarun Verma | Debashis RC Biswas 

Originally published 21st March, 2011 | Updated 26th March 2024

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  1. Stacey Sheppard on March 21, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Karen, this looks absolutely amazing. So great that you were lucky enough to be part of it. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring? Great post!

    • admin on March 21, 2011 at 11:29 am

      Hi Stacey, Glad you liked the post. Experiencing Holi is amazing. I was on my way to the UK, popped into Nepal to do a trek (as you do 😉 ) and ended up in Katmandu on Holi. Can you imagine going to job interviews with multi-coloured hair. Certainly got the conversation going! x

  2. Tamsin Fox-Davies on March 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I love these pictures so much. They are so vibrant.

    One of the things I really noticed when I went to India was the fabulous use of colour in clothing etc. It made London seem so very grey and drab.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • admin on March 26, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      Hi Tamsin,

      They certainly know how to embrace colour!

  3. Felicity Lerouge on March 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Karen,

    Wonderful photos! What an extraordinary visual feast! It shows how much colour enhances celebration. The adjectives that would describes these shades – vibrant, alive, electric – really communicate the energy we experience when we celebrate. I’m looking forward to learning more about colour psychology from you and how colours effect the message we portray as individuals and businesses.

    Thanks for posting this blog.

    Felicity Lerouge

    • admin on March 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Felicity,

      You’re spot on. The colours choosen certainly do set the tone for the way you celebrate. Rio Carnival, Notting Hill Carnival, all celebrate using bright, vivid colours. Just imagine the mood change if the colours changed to grey… x

  4. Keren Lerner on April 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    This is great! I first heard about this on our blog – which Michael posted – see – http://www.topleftdesign.com/blog/2011/03/20/happy-holi-a-colourful-celebration/ – thanks for the thorough explanation and gorgeous images!

    • admin on April 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post. I love the history and the symbolism that comes with these types of events. Loved Michael’s post too. Spreading the joy of colour!

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