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Holi 2022: What is the Indian Festival of Colours and why do Hindus celebrate it?

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H

indus will celebrate Holi, also known as “The Festival of Colours.”

The religious festival is intended to welcome the arrival of spring whilst also celebrating fertility, colour and love.

Celebrated mainly in India and Nepal, worshippers mark the event by throwing colourful powders at each other.

Thanks to this unique festivity and its joyful atmosphere, similar Holi events take place in cities all over the world.

As Holi fast approaches, here’s everything you need to know about the Hindu festival…

When is Holi?

This year, Holi will be observed on March 18, 2022 and Choti Holi will be celebrated a day prior to the main festival, on March 17, 2022.

The festival celebrations start on the evening of the full moon that comes in ‘Phalguna,’ which is between the end of February and the middle of March.

Over the two days, the festival is split into two events. The night before the main festivities is referred to as Holika Dahan and is when people traditionally gather around a bonfire to celebrate the victory of good over evil.

The following day is known as Rangwali Holi, during which huge crowds gather and colourful powders known as gulal are thrown into the air. This is the event for which Holi is most renowned.

Why do Hindus celebrate Holi and what is the history?

Hindus celebrate Holi by throwing colourful powdered paint on each other / Getty

The origins of Holi can be linked to various Hindu legends, although one in particular appears to be the most well known – the Legend of Prahlada and Holika.

Holi derives from the name Holika, who in Hindu legend was a female demon and the sister of Hiranyakashipu, a demon king.

Hiranyakashipu was immortal and believed himself to be the ruler of the universe.

Appalled by his evil wielding of power, his son Prahlada refused to acknowledge him as his ruler and instead worshipped the Hindu god Vishnu.

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