Hues of Holi: A Photo Tour of India's Famous Festival

Travel Galleries
Share Tweet Submit Pin
Hues of Holi: A Photo Tour of India's Famous Festival

On March 24, the vision of vibrant blossoming buds are not the only striking colors to signify the beginning of spring and the end of winter. The Holi festival, also known as the festival of colors, is a visually pleasing Hindu festival in India that signifies the arrival of spring with its own unique, bold bang of hues.

The particular date of Holi varies from year to year, but it is celebrated the day after the full moon in March.

If you are not able to experience the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil in India, emerge yourself in these photos of people celebrating with radiant splashes of color.

Lauren Spiler is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia, but most call her Spiler.


People gather the night before the full moon to burn dried leaves and twigs during a bonfire that signifies the destruction of 'Holika,' a mythology character.
Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty


On the day of the full moon, people arrive at the festival wearing pure white clothing as they playfully smear gulal, or colored powder, on each others faces.
Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty

Welcoming Spring

There is also music and dancing to keep the atmosphere joyous. The saturated greens, yellows, reds, blues and pinks symbolize the advent of a bright and prosperous spring season. These people are celebrating at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, India.
Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty


Gulal is colored powder used at the Holi festival. Each different color conveys a different message and connects language barriers to convey true feelings. Green means compassion, understanding and prosperity. Pink means love and compassion. Red is a source of energy, security and the color of fire. Yellow is optimism is and associated with Mother Earth. Blue represents loyalty and trust.


Gubbare, balloons, are filled with water or with colored water. No one participating in the festival is safe from being hit with one of these.

Victory of Good Over Evil

Holi also celebrates the victory of good over evil. Many people gather to greet old friends, make new ones and laugh while being covered in a rainbow of different hues. Others tend to use the Holi festival to forgive, forget and repair relationships that have fallen through during the last year.

Traditional Holi Color

Traditionally, the gulal thrown during the Holi festivals was made from natural plants. In the past, the color of the gulal smeared on the face and clothing of this man would have been made from beet root. Beet root is a traditional and natural source for magenta and purple colors.
Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty


Pichkari's are also known as water guns. Children, as well as adults, use water guns during the Holi festivities to soak each other with colored water as they throw gulal on one another.
Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty

Radha and Krishna

Holi comes from many legends including the one of Radha and the Hindu God Krishna. It is said that young and very dark Krishna was jealous of Radha's fair complexion. After asking his mother Yashoda about the darkness of his complexion, Yashoda, teasingly told him to color Radha's face whatever color he wanted. Krishna went a little overboard.
Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty

Prahlada and Vishnu

Another legend centers around the story of Prahlada, a prince who worshipped Hindu god Vishnu, which his family disapproved. As punishment, they forced him to sit in the middle of a bonfire. But Vishnu intervened and Prahlada survived. The colored powder and water used in Holi celebrations symbolize the flames of the fire and the vibrancy of spring.
Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty