Home / News / India /  Holi 2023: Date, history, significance; all you need to know

As the festival of colour is here and preparation for its celebrations is in full swing. Holi is a celebration of liveliness, joy and, of course, familial ties and close bonds. India, a diverse land of cultures and traditions, celebrates Holi with cheer across the nation.

Holi is also celebrated as a 'spring festival' in different parts of India. In 2023, Holi will be observed on 7 and 8 March. The ritual for Holi involves lighting up a bonfire one day before Holi as it signifies the victory of 'good over evil'. The festival begins on the evening of Purnima full moon day in the month of Falgun. As per the Drik Panchang, the first day of holi also called as Choti Holi will be celebrated on March 7th this year. The muharat for 2023 Holika Dahan will be from 6:24 pm to 8:51 pm. Then next day, i.e. on 8 March, holi will be celebrated with colours among loved ones. People also consider this a 'goodbye' to winter days and welcome to summer.

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Story behind the Holi festival

In Hindu mythology, Holi is best known as the killing of 'Hollika'. Mythology states that when Prahalad refused to accept the orders of his father Hiranyakashyapu and kept praying for Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashyapu took the help of her sister, Holika to kill him. Holika took Prahalad in her lap and sat in a bonfire as she had immunity to fire. Even after that, she burned alive while Prahlad was unaffected. Hence, 'Holika Dahan' is celebrated a day before Holi.

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Holi celebration:

Apart from the celebration with colours, on this day, houses are filled with the delicious aroma of sweet and scrumptious sweet delicacies, which add a spark to the festival celebration. Traditional Thandai, Gujjiya, Malpua, Puran Poli, Bhang are often seen as common drinks and eateries during Holi.  

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Holi is celebrated across India and Mathura is one of the very famous places for this festival. People from all over the world visit Mathura to witness a grand celebration as the city is known to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna. People have a lot of fun playing with flowers and colours during the festival here, which lasts for 9 days. There, Holi is celebrated with a lot of dry colours, water balloons, and water guns. The grand celebrations around the 'Banke Bihari Temple' in Mathura is something to watch out for. Other famous places include Barsana where they celebrate 'Lath Mar Holi'. Here women have a tradition of beating men with sticks while men protect themselves with shields. In West Bengal, Holi is celebrated as 'Dol Jatra' with singing and dancing. 

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In South India, people worship the God of love, Kamadeva, on Holi while in Uttarakhand, Kumaoni Holi is celebrated with the singing of classical ragas. In Bihar, people traditionally clean their houses and then attend the festival. In Punjab, it is celebrated by in a difference style and is called 'Hola Mohalla'. On this day, people show their martial arts, especially 'kushti', and celebrate with colours. Holi celebrations in Udaipur make the city look royal. There are traditional folk dances and folk songs followed by a lavish dinner and wonderful fireworks.

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