Everything you need to know
4 March 2012| Last updated on 21 December 2017
Holi is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus known as the Festival of Colours. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, Pakistan and countries with large Indian populations following Hinduism, such as South Africa, the UK and United States. There are also large celebrations across the UAE in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and across the Middle East.
Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the festival Holi, which is the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna, or early March. Holi has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating many events that are present in Hindu mythology. Although it is the least religious holiday, it is probably one of the most exhilarating ones in existence. During this event, followers light a bonfire, throw coloured powders at each other and celebrate wildly.
Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. In addition to celebrating the coming of spring, Hindus believe Holi is a time of enjoying spring's abundant colours and saying farewell to winter.
Traditionally, mothers used to make new clothes for their married daughters on the occasion of Holi, while mothers-in-law gave travel money to their daughters-in-law.
In some of the countries, especially in North India, people celebrate Holi by giving gifts and sweets to their family members, friends and relatives and exchanging greetings.
Sons-in-law are invited by the bride’s family for a luxurious meal, after which it is customary to give them money in the form or crisp, fresh notes.
Gujjia, papri and kanji vade are special food items that are exclusively made for this festival.
Clothes like a white cotton salwar- suit for women and kurta- pyjama sets for men are also given as gifts.
Other gifts that are popular include packets of bright coloured flowers, home decoration items, baskets and bouquets of flowers.