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Meanings of Holi Festival Colors — What Colors to Use?

Meanings of Holi Festival Colors — What Colors to Use?

By Albee NingUpdated Sep. 30, 2022

Holi is called "The Festival of Color", with the main rituals being throwing and applying of colored water and powders to friends and family. People use the color flights to celebrate happiness and love, which were immortalized in the legend of the divine love between Krishna and Radha.

The only color everyone used originally on Holi was red (gulal), but now more and more colors have come into Holi day! People use vibrant colors of the rainbow to express love, emotions, happiness, and best wishes, which also reflect the cultural variety of India. The most popular colors used in Holi are red, yellow, blue, green, pink, orange or saffron, and purple.

Color powders in Local markets Color powders in Local markets

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1. Red — Color of urity, Love, Passion, and Fertility

red powder Red powder

Red is India's (Hindus') color of love and passion. In India, red has a greater meaning. Women wear red at weddings as it symbolizes purity and fertility, love beauty. Red is a sign of marriage for (Hindu) women, who usually put a red tika on their forehead when married. During Holi, red gulal (powder) reflects wishes for passion, strength, wealth, etc.

People like to smear the faces of loved ones and greet them with red paste or gulal. Family deities who are charitable, brave, protective, and who have the capacity to destroy evil are always dressed in red for Holi.  

Read more when is Holi in 2023 here .

2. Yellow — Color of Happiness, Meditation, and Peace

Yellow is the sacred color of India. It is the color of sunshine and happiness, and is believed to have healing powers. Many gods in India are dressed in yellow, like Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishna, and Ganesha. What's more, yellow is synonymous with turmeric in India, which has been used as a medicine for centuries in India. Turmeric is also an auspicious spice used in weddings and puja (worship rituals).

Check more tips about celebrating Holi with colors:

3. Blue — Color of Calm and Otherworldliness (Krishna's Skin Color)

Blue powder Blue powder

Blue is the color of the sky and ocean and it symbolizes calm and serenity. What's more, it is the color of Lord Krishna, one of the most favored gods in India. It can also mean immortality, bravery, and determination in Indian culture.

4. Green — Color of Nature, Spring, and New Beginnings

Green powder Put green powder on face during Holi

Green symbolizes nature and a manifestation of the divine in Hinduism. It is a festive color that symbolizes new beginnings, harvest, and happiness.

And it is a sacred color in Islam, which is the second-largest religion in India, with 14.9% of India's population.

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5. Pink — Color of Youth, Good Health, and Playfulness

Feminine pink is an innocent, cheerful color that symbolizes youth, good health, and playfulness. It is believed to bring more joy, fun, and energy to Holi celebrations. Pink gulal is a favorite for girls and women, with whom it is seen as the most attractive and energetic color.

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6. Orange or Saffron — Color of Courage and Sacrifice

holi colors Holi color powder

Orange (dark saffron) is the most dominate sacred color in India. The yogis, gurus, and 'men of God' wear saffron robes paired with bright saffron turbans. In Hinduism, orange represents the sacral chakra ('energy center') — the sexual/self center. Orange (dark saffron) in the Indian flag means the strength and courage of the Indian people.

7. Purple — Color of Supreme Peace and Wisdom

Purple combines the calm color of blue and the passion of red, it is always connected to royalty, wealth, and power in India. In Hinduism, it is the color of the crown chakra — the bridge to the cosmos.  

Colors Not to Use for Holi

White and black are not used in Holi's joyous celebrations.

White is mainly used for funerals and ceremonies that mark death in the family, and it is the color that widows must wear.

Black is connected with dark desires, evil, negativity, and inertia in India. It always appears as a representation of evil and when warding off evil.

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