When I think of Holi, the following words come to my mind: colors, balloons, water, friends, food and spring! Ok maybe food comes first. :-)
Holi is the first major festival for all Hindus.
When is Holi?
Holi is a two-day celebration. The first day is called Holika Dhan or Choti Holi and the second day is called Dhuleti, Phagwah, Rangwali Holi etc. This year, Holika Dhan falls on March 28, 2021. Whereas, Dhuleti (like we call it in Ahmedabad) falls on March 29, 2021.
Story of Holi?
I have a vivid memory of my mother narrating this story to me while growing up. So I will narrate it to you in the same manner.
“Once upon a time, in a far off land, there was an evil king. His name was Hiranyakashyap (pronounced as hir-anya-cash-yup). He did not believe in a higher power or the existence of God. He forced everybody to pray to him and treat him like God. Out of fear, the natives of his city agreed to do so.
Hiranyakashyap had undergone years of austerity and penance to Lord Bramha. When Lord Bramha agreed to grant him a wish, Hiranyakashyap tried to outsmart him by requesting that he become indestructible. The Lord had no choice, but to grant his wish.
However, to his dismay, his own son Prahallad (pronounced as Pra-hul-lad) was a big devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was later born as Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Hiranyakashyap tried to convince his son to start praying to him, and not to Lord Vishnu. When Prahallad refused to oblige, Hiranyakashyap made multiple attempts to kill his son, including getting him thrown off of a mountain. To his shock, every attempt was futile, and Prahallad would come back alive.
At last, he had no choice but to turn to his sister Holika, who he gave a magic robe and said, “Go sit in the fire with Prahallad. This magic robe will save you from death, and you will remain unscratched.” Blinded in her brotherly love, Holika agreed to sit in the fire with Prahallad. To Hiranyakashap's shock, Prahallad came out alive, while Holika was burnt alive.
Therefore, the first day of Holi is called Holika Dhan or Choti Holi and is celebrated with offerings to the fire. On this day, people pray that their devil within them dies, the way Holika died. Holika Dhan is celebrated to mark the victory of virtue and goodness over evil.
The day after holi is called Dhuleti where friends, family and people who may not look each other in the eye, forget all bygones, splash colors, drink bhaang or thandai and eat gujiyas.
On Holi, we also remember Lord Krishna, who was loved immensely by all the gopis (girls) of Gokul. There are countless stories of him playing Holi with his best friend Radha and other gopis.
How to celebrate Holi outside India?
Over the years, many temples have started setting up a fire pit outside their temples to allow devotees to come and pray. Check your local temple website or call them.
The festival of colors can be celebrated in your yard or a park. We are trying to be Covid cautious. Please remember to wear your masks, and only meet people who have either been vaccinated or have had no exposure. Remember to use skin safe color. You maybe able to find some at a local grocery store. Here is my favorite.
There are many Holi books available online and many small businesses sell holi boxes.
Remember to narrate the story of Holi to your little ones, because knowledge is their biggest friend.
Holi Activity for Kids
If you know me, you know that everything for me has to be hands-on. What's better than creating a fun Holi Bucket for kids! Are you excited? Let's do this. You will need the following:
- A Bucket. I got mine from Dollar Tree. Get an Easter bucket and you get a two-for-one use.
- Personalized Holi Shirt or T-Shirt
- Water Blasters
- Colorful Balloons. Dollar Tree again!
- Holi Colors
- Colorful Easter Grass. Did I say Dollar Tree?
- Bottle of Hair Oil
- Holi Coloring Book
- Fun Holi Signs Cut-Outs or Signs
- Holi Coco Bombs. Go to the next section, to read how-to?
- Personalized Holi Tag
Place the Easter grass at the bottom of the bucket and arrange the remaining items nicely in the bucket. Use fancy ribbons, tassels, tissue fabric to decorate it.
Remember to put the Holi Coco Bombs in the end. Serve the Hot Coco drink before they head to play!
Do a nice hair oil massage or champi on the kids to protect their hair from colors.
Lastly, personalize the basket with a Personalized Holi Tag, and the kids are set to have a blast this Holi!
Holi Activity for Adults
How can I leave the adults out? Here is a catch though, we can create a similar one for kids by tweaking some ingredients. On that note, let's make Thandai Coco Bombs!
Yes, you read that right! We are twisiting the Hot Coco Bombs to make these bright, colorful, chocolatey Thandai Bombs. Now, I know thandai is served cold, but give this a try and you will absolutely love it. And if you are in a cold place, you will definitely appreciate some garma garam thandai (irony isn't it?). You will need:
An Almond Bark or Chocolate Melts.
Thandai Masala. I made mine using this recipe.
Some Golden Sprinkles (optional)
Makes 4 Thandai Coco Bombs.
Melt four pieces of chocolate or bark over a double boiler or microwave. Follow the exact instructions on the packaging.
Spoon 1tbsp. of melted chocolate in four moulds and spread it across all sides.
Do not fill it, we need space to put the thandai masala.
Freeze it for 10-15 minutes till the chocolate hardens.
Melt two more pieces of almond bark.
Take 1 tbsp of dried food grade rose petals and coarsley crush in mortar pestle.
Remove the mould from the freezer.
Add thandai masala, top it with some almonds and pistachios and a few crushed rose petals.
Top it with extra spoon of melted chocolate a level it with a knife.
Sprinkle some extra nuts, rose petals, and sprinkles and freeze it for 20-30 minutes till fully set.
Melt one piece of bark and split it in 4 different cups or moulds.
Remove the Thandai Coco Bombs from the freezer.
Add one tiniest drop of food color in the melted chocolate. DO NOT over mix. Do one color at a time.
Take a toothpick and color the Thandai Coco Bomb.
To Serve, place the Thandai Coco Bomb in a mug and slowly pour hot milk. Use a spoon to break and mix the Thandai Coco Bomb, if required. Enjoy!
Substitute the filling with hot chocolate powder and marshmallows! Enjoy!
I wish you and your family a very vibrant and happy Holi! The past year was different for all of us. Here is wishing you lots of joy, good health, and time with people you love!
My name is Isha Gandhi-Parekh, I am a mom, wife, daughter, friend, entrepreneur, henna artist and singer (in no specific order). I love creative blogging, check out my Instagram blog @culturalhighlights for some creative décor, food, DIY and music.
For my henna work, check out @idevhennaart.
I founded @mydesipitara with an intention of creating fun cultural products. Give our Etsy shop a visit also, you may just find something you like.
And I love talking, please do send me a DM, let's chat!