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Exploring Holi Festivals Around the World

Celebrating the Arrival of Spring

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Holi, the festival of colors, is a vibrant celebration that marks the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil, and will be celebrated this year on March 25. This ancient festival has its roots in Hindu mythology, primarily commemorating the burning of the demoness Holika, which symbolizes the victory of faith and goodness. However, the Holi’s appeal has transcended cultural and geographical boundaries, evolving into a global celebration of love, frolic, and colors, from the traditional ceremonies in India to the inclusive festivities in in the United States.

In India, Holi festivals unfold with a kaleidoscope of colors, traditional foods, and rituals that vary from region to region. In Vrindavan and Mathura, where Lord Krishna is believed to have grown up, the celebration is exceptionally spirited, with a week-long festival that includes the famous Lathmar Holi, where women playfully hit men with sticks. Meanwhile, in West Bengal, Holi, known as Dol Jatra, is celebrated with singing and dancing, as participants drench each other in color while carrying idols of Krishna and Radha through the streets.

Holi has been embraced by diverse cultures, illustrating the universal desire for joy and unity. In the United States, cities like Chicago and Los Angeles host Holi events that draw thousands of people from various backgrounds. These gatherings are marked by live music, dance performances, and the iconic color throws, creating a mosaic of human connection and shared happiness. It’s a testament to how the essence of Holi — togetherness and jubilation — resonates across different cultures.

The global spread of Holi also reflects the growing influence of Indian culture and the world’s increasing interconnectivity. In London, the Holi Festival of Colours is an annual event that mirrors the electric atmosphere of the Indian celebration, complete with color powders, water balloons, and Bollywood beats. Similarly, in South Africa, where there’s a significant Indian community, Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm, featuring traditional foods like gujiya and dancing to the rhythm of dhol.

Through the lens of Holi, we witness the beautiful convergence of tradition and modernity. Ancient rituals blend seamlessly with contemporary celebrations, illustrating the festival’s adaptability and enduring appeal. From the sacred fires that purge the old and welcome the new in India to the inclusive color throws in New York City, Holi serves as a vibrant reminder of our shared humanity and the joy that comes from celebrating together.

As Holi continues to inspire communities worldwide, it offers a colorful canvas on which to paint our hopes, dreams, and the enduring spirit of unity. In a world often divided, Holi emerges as a beacon of inclusivity, love, and the unyielding belief that ultimately, good prevails. Whether it’s through the spiritual ceremonies in India or the inclusive festivities in cities like New York, Holi encourages us to embrace our differences, celebrate our shared humanity, and, most importantly, spread happiness and color wherever we go.

Will you be celebrating Holi? If so, tag @mollymymag! We’d love to see your photos.