Celebrating The Holi Festival in the United States

Celebrating The Holi Festival in the United States

Holi 2017 in USA

Holi Festival Celebrate in United States and Canada

This may be a holiday that not many people know about, but the Holi Festival is one of the most unique celebrations you can ever take part of. Celebrated in different parts of the globe, it is fast becoming a popular event in America, being held in different places from New York to California and just about every state in between. If you don’t know about this festival yet, then it’s time for you to know more about it — especially how it is celebrated in the United States.

What is the Holi Festival? Also known as the Spring Festival or the Festival of Colours, this is one of the most popular festivals in the Hindu religion. Tracing its origins in the Punjab region of India, this event got its name from “Holika,” a Hindu character who is immune from fire but got burned. This story, and in effect the celebration, is basically a reminder of how good triumphs over evil. It celebrates the start of spring and at the same time celebrates agriculture and the bountiful harvest that’s about to come. It is also celebrated as an occasion for renewing relationships and ending conflicts.
Holi Festival 2016 California
There is no fixed date for the start of this event as it is celebrated to commemorate the end of winter and the entry of spring. Traditionally, the festival is held at the last full moon day of the Hindu lunar month Phalgun, which is usually in either late February or early March. The festival itself can last up to an average of 2 weeks. It is highly popular in India and other countries that practice Hinduism, and each place has their own unique way of celebrating this occasion.

In a nutshell, this is how the Holi Festival is celebrated. As it is considered a religious festival, it has its own set of cultural rituals. Days before the festival begins, wood and other combustible materials are gathered at a site where the bonfire will be created. Also, people stock up on both food and color pigments in their homes.

Holi Festival 2016 CanadaHoli Festival 2017 CANADA

On the eve of the festival, the bonfire is lighted, which signifies the triumph of good over evil. The morning after the bonfire, people start playing with colors using dyes and pigments. Usually prepared using natural plant-derived colors, these colors can be thrown to any person in sight. Music, food, and intoxicating drinks are also considered as part of the festivities.

The festival has proven to be so popular that it has spread to different parts of the globe, even in countries where Hinduism is not considered as a dominant religion. The Europeans, especially the British, were fascinated by this event and adapted it in their countries and colonies, including the United States. In these countries, this festival is mainly celebrated as a means to create social merriment and as a way to affirm and fix all kinds of relationships. Today, almost anyone can celebrate the Festival of Colours in the United States, with some adding their own unique twist to this colorful occasion.

Holi at HarvardHoli at Harvard.
Holi Festival 2017 is becoming a global festival.

Holi in Russia

Russian Holi Mela (Festival of Colors) in St. Petersburg

Celebrating their holidays to the fullest is one of the things that Russians and Indians have in common. This year’s Holi celebration in Moscow makes a case in point.

The Indian community in Moscow started paying tribute to the festival of colours, Weekend two days after the official date of its celebration, March, 2017. The first celebratory events took place in the beginning of the month creating a stark contrast between snowy Moscow in March and the splendour of colours at the dance contest devoted to the celebration of Holi on March 26 at the Gubkin Cultural Centre.

Now the Indians longing to continue celebrating Holi are looking forward to an event on March, which is unofficially the main occasion marking the festival in the Russian capital. The highlight of the event is a dance contest at the House of Culture of the MAI Institute, a new home for the celebration of the festival in Moscow.
holi mela 2016Celebrating Holi in the Russian capital is not only a festive occasion, but like anything that involves the small Indian community, it is a chance to get to socialise and network. The event on March 26 is arranged by the Indian Business Alliance and is a good opportunity to discuss important topics in an informal atmosphere.

In just three years, the event has grown with its audience going up from 6,000 to 7,000 visitors and has become an increasingly anticipated event in the city’s festival calendar, among both the Indian and Russian communities.

The get-together will feature Indian music and dance programmes, arts and craft displays, and cultural workshops to go along with Indian food. The main attraction is the rang party where visitors get the opportunity to celebrate Holi the proper way, providing a powerful and visible depiction of equality and acceptance of cultural diversity.

Although some Indians feel that celebrating Holi in Moscow is quite the same as it is back home, they still perceive the holiday as something special and eagerly wait for it.
Holi in Moscow

Narendra R. Shrivastava, an Indian who has been living in Moscow for a long time, shares his plans for celebrating Holi in Moscow: “Here is a no difference in the way we celebrate Holi in India and in Russia. In Moscow there are few little of limitations due to differences in civic sensibilities and other limitations… Holi for me has always been an exciting festival which I always look forward to. I will be celebrating with my friends in Moscow. My family lives in India and this year because of professional commitments I will not be able to visit them during this Holi.”

While the magic of Holi in India can be replicated in Moscow, the celebrations in the Russian capital serve their true purpose and colourfully herald the spring.


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Russian Holi Mela  Festival of Colors in St. Petersburg
Russian Holi Mela (Festival of Colors) in St. Petersburg

In general, the festival of colours Holi is traditionally celebrated by youth of India. It is believed that with the paint, which falls on the person celebrating during the festival, he also receives good wishes and positive thoughts in his address. Therefore, this festival is considered to be the most colourful and cheerful event.

All guests of the festival will hear loud live music, natural colour of Holi from India in unlimited quantities, happiness, carefree and fun. Participation is free; you need to take good mood only!