Holi is a popular Hindu festival that marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. On this festive day, people play with colors, meet and greet one another, and celebrate new beginnings.
According to Hindu mythology, Holi commemorates the victory of good over evil and the story of the destruction of a demoness named Holika. Today, Holi is celebrated by almost all religions in India due to its incredible fun and chaotic atmosphere.
Although the festival is mostly celebrated in India and Nepal, it has also spread to other areas of Asia and parts of the Western world through migration from the Indian subcontinent. In this article, we will list the top 10 places outside of India to celebrate Holi.
What is Holi Festival?
Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil, particularly the destruction of a demoness named Holika. The festival lasts for a night and a day and often takes place in March. In 2024, Holi is on March 25th.
This holiday is popularly known as the "festival of colors" and signifies the end of winter and arrival of spring as well as the blossoming of love and the chance to laugh, forgive others, and repair broken relationships.
1. Holi in Kathmandu, Nepal
The festival of colors is a three-day event full of fun and joy in Kathmandu.
Nepali people are mostly Hindu and Holi is celebrated in major cities throughout the country. The people here celebrate the first day by decorating wooden poles called chir with colorful cloth and then burn them through the night to symbolize the end of the old year.
The chir represents the tree on which the Hindu god, Krishna, is said to have hung milkmaids' clothes while they were bathing in the Jamuna River in India. Holi is in large part a celebration of Krishna and the many tales about him.
Women also commonly wear red saris and walk around the chirs while praying on this day.
On the second day, bonfires are lit to symbolize the death of the demoness Holika who, in Hindu mythology, died in a fire trying to kill Prahlad, a follower of Lord Vishnu.
The third day is the day of the largest celebrations when people gather in masses on the streets to join in a large color fight. Colorful water balloons, paint, and dyed powders are thrown on everyone outside and the city takes on a joyous atmosphere.
In addition to throwing colored powder, the holiday also includes feasts, dancing, and singing.
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
I have never hear of this company…
I have never hear of this company before , and after reading all these reviews ,I decided to give it a try . The professionalism and communicative skill received by one of the agent , Sharon of Asia Highlights , convince me that She was the right travel agent for my trip in Asia . Very quickly she communicated with me and got all the detail of my desire vacation . Sharon made me a great itinerary with great experiences that I am dreaming to experience and I am looking forward to it . Thanks Sharon for been so great and crafting me a dream vacation with great suggestions.More
orge alvarez, May 2023
Coco Yang worked tirelessly to…
From the moment I landed in Bangkok, Ms Noi Ying was there to welcome me and get me settled into my hotel. We enjoyed several days together touring Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. In Chiang Mai, Mr Ekachai took my son snd I on an amazing trip to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and to visit a community Lanna home, gardens and a hands-on cooking class preparing an authentic Thai meal. Lisa arranged a last-minute speedboat tour of 5 breathtaking islands in Phuket. From start to finish, the guides exceeded my expectations!! Thank you, Asia Highlight!! Debbie WoodsMore
Debbie Woods, May 2023
Sharon from Asia highlights has been…
Sharon from Asia highlights has been amazing. She offered her amazing ideas to other tours I wanted. We have planned the perfect 9 day itinerary to Thailand. She worked in my budget and was very flexible when I had to change my flights. Thank you sharon. Can’t wait for the trip.More
Heather Stern Wilensky, Apr 2023
Ms. Ning first review 4-2023
Ms. Albee Ning has been doing a great job accommodating my requests and itinerary changes. Remember the first itinerary is a rough draft and you may modify it to suit your tastes. Remember you can not do it all and see everything in 3 weeks. If the flight wasn't so long I would visit Southeast Asia more often. I will update my review in a few months. We don't leave for 9 more months. Asia Highlights is working well for me so far!More
Chiefray, Apr 2023
Perfect Trip To Thailand…
We had so much fun in Bangkok with Tanni and Tom as they kept laughing at all of our silly jokes. Paul, our guide and Chiang Mai was really thoughtful, fun and full of great information about the temples and sights. Thanks so much! Brian and MichelleMore
Scott Orchard, Mar 2023
I highly recommend Asia Highlights
I highly recommend Asia Highlights. I worked with Alisa and she is fantastic! I was planning my honeymoon trip, and I changed the destination multiple times. Each time, Alisa provided me an updated itinerary with activities that matched my interests. Whether I had a small change to an activity, a question about one of the arrangements, or a change or destination, Alisa was helpful, thoughtful, and knowledgeable, providing me with updated options in an extremely timely manner. In the end, despite the fact that I changed my mind on location multiple times, I ended up booking a 17 day trip to Thailand for this upcoming November. I am extremely excited to experience everything that Alisa planned for us. I recommend Asia Highlights to everyone and look forward to using them again on any other trips to Asia in the future. Thank you Alisa and Asia Highlights!More
Britt Rosen, Mar 2023
Three weeks encompassing Vietnam
A special shoutout to our last guide in Bangkok - Ms. Ka-Noon who spoiled us with her kindness and then got us through check in and security for our flight home in record time at that huge Bangkok airport.More
Deby, Feb 2023
Over the last 5 years we've used Asia…
Over the last 5 years we've used Asia highlights twice. And both times we've had fantastic vacations. Would not want to do it any different when we travel to Asia from now on. Sharon was fantastic. She was a wonderful agent who helped us nail down our trip and make everything go as smooth as possible.More
Todd Atwell, Feb 2023
Family Trip to Thailand
Our trip to Thailand comprised three generations of the family , ten people and an age range of 4 to 70 so a potentially difficult brief.Our itinerary over two weeks involved four locations, and a number of different trips and tours.From out arrival at an extremely busy Bangkok airport Asia Highlights were terrific.In each location we were met by a smiling , knowledgeable and professional guide who simply made everything easy and stress free for everyone.Our transportation was clean and comfortable . Transport was always ready for us at the agreed time and the drivers were excellent.There were so many highlights enjoyed by all the age groups. The floating houses , railway market and elephant sanctuary were particular favourites.We had one minor glitch with the accommodation in Phuket which was immediately dealt with by Tip. I think we would have struggled to resolve the problem by ourselves. So, thank you Asia Highlights , Cathy, Tip and tour guides Tanny, Sam and Lisa. It was a memorable holiday and we will be back.More
Roger Pyle, Feb 2023
Trip of a lifetime from Asia Highlights!
I recommend highly Asia Highlights as a travel company. Our travel consultant Albee took the time to connect with us during the planning process to make sure we were comfortable with our itinerary. When we arrived, we were met by our guide and all the details were attended to. They picked great hotels and tours. I often describe our trip as the trip of a lifetime! Would definitely use them again when we come back to AsiaMore
Nancy Parker, Feb 2023
Asia Highlights and Albee - highly recommended
Asia Highlights is very reliable agency and Albee is an amazing representative of the company. From the moment when we contacted her until our departure, the whole support we received was 6* level. She prepared our trip offer within few hours and afterwards she was extremely flexible to adjust as per our needs. In the period between the offer and the trip, Albee was always available for all our questions and supported us on the best possible way. During the trip she was again flexible to add new activities/transfers and this went on the smoothest possible way. Thank you, Albee and Asia Highlights. Definitely we will approach you again for our next Asian tripMore
AZ, Feb 2023
5 STAR CUSTOMER SERVICE BY MONICA
Monica is a very sweet young lady who speaks excellent English via email/WhatsApp, and knows the importance of excellent customer service.More
Trent, Jan 2023
We had an awesome experience with Asia Highlights
We started our trip in Bangkok, where Mr. Prassert our tour guide, met us. He was on time and the van was clean and well-maintained. Mr. Prassert was our guide for the 4 days we spent in Bangkok. He was helpful, kind, and willing to accommodate our pee and coffee breaks. The driver was safe and punctual. Next, we went to Chiang Mai.Gemma exceeded every expectation we had for our tour of Chiang Mai! She had a great attitude that made exploring the city fun and exciting, as well as an abundance of knowledge and experience. She was always spot on with figuring out logistics and coming up with unique ideas that suited our interests and schedules. Gemma was incredibly generous with her time and even walked us to security at the airport to make sure we could carry all of our luggage. That’s just one example of how far out of her way she went to make our trip easier and more enjoyable. Gemma was sincerely interested in making every minute of our trip count. We’re very grateful to have met her and feel like we have found a friend in Gemma! Our driver in Chiang Mai was also great and very accommodating to our changes in schedules.More
Lois Paskow, Dec 2022
Thailand & Cambodia 2022
Albee went above and beyond to make our trip perfect. She rearranged flights due to a mistake of mine. She made sure we were still picked up and escorted to the airport. I felt comfortable and safe with all our reps. She did an excellent job and I highly recommend her booking your next trip. Thank you, Albee.More
Karen Brooks, Dec 2022
Perfect vacation thanks to Albee we…
I can’t say enough about how much we appreciate all the efforts, attention to details and immediate responses to all questions that Albee and her team provided. The Asia Highlights team deserves more stars than the maximum allowed because of continually going above and beyond all expectations. Thanks Albee for making our vacation through south east Asia absolutely perfect!!!More
Michael Sharp, Dec 2022
2023 Chiang Mai CAD Yipeng Festival
We got early bird ticket and Bella was assisting us through whatsapp. Easy, competitive price, front row tickets. Thanks Bella, for being patient explaining everything to me. Highly recommended.More
lily hartati, Dec 2022
Bella has been an outstanding customer service rep
Bella has been an outstanding customer service rep. She was responsive and knowledgeable. Buying tickets from their website was super easy and the whole process was straightforward. Highly recommended.More
Khai, Nov 2022
I was ever so grateful to have a point…
I was ever so grateful to have a point of contact while in a foreign country for the first time, alone, that helped me through the Ins and outs of getting to and from my destination. Albee was readily available which brought me much comfort and feeling of safety. If in this part of the world again, I will not hesitate to use your services..More
Omega, Nov 2022
I booked tickets to the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Nov 2022. Bella was extremely responsive and helpful!!More
Bowen, Nov 2022
It is the attention to detail and what we specifically wanted to see that made the reservation experience so exciting.More
Peter Bongiovanni, Nov 2022
2. Holi in Leicester, UK
Hindus who have settled in the United Kingdom do not miss out on the excitement of Holi celebrations. Leicester has a large population of people of Indian descent and is particularly known for its love of celebrating Indian festivals, the most loved of which is Holi. Outside of India, Leicester has the largest Holi celebrations in the world.
Holi is celebrated at different parks across the city each year. Everyone in the city comes together to watch the lighting of the Holika bonfire on the eve of the festival. During the bonfire, many people in the crowd will hold coconuts which will be blessed and cracked open to symbolize hope for new beginnings and the growth of a new harvest.
Of course, the most awaited event is the color fight. The throwing of colors takes place in Abbey Park with a free-for-all zone and a special family-friendly zone to ensure that even the youngest participants can enjoy the celebrations.
During the festival, friends and family will also hug each other and apply the tilak on each other which is a red mark worn on the forehead.
3. Holi in New York City, USA
New Yorkers of all backgrounds come together at events across the city to celebrate Holi with joy and positive vibes. Attendees throw colored powder and often, with permission, rub it on each other's faces. To make the colors pop more and get great photos, it is customary to wear white clothing during the festival.
The most popular Holi event in New York City takes place on the Play Lawn on Governors Island. Every May, the "Happiest Festival of New York" returns with free yoga, Sufi and Punjabi entertainment, food vendors, and environmentally safe colored powders.
Brooklyn celebrates Holi with an annual spring art and music event in Bushwick. The event showcases art from local painters and graphic designers and also includes live DJ performances and a color fight with traditional Indian powders to make life in the borough even more colorful.
4. Holi in Melbourne, Australia
Several events are organized all over in Australia to celebrate Holi, but the Melbourne Holi Festival is one of the most authentic and fun celebrations in the country.
This is an alcohol-free, family-friendly festival with non-stop music and multicultural performances. The event also includes Bollywood dancing, Indian drumming performances, kids activities, food vendors, and henna tattoo stalls.
The festival organizers provide plenty of the brightly-colored powders. Participants can douse each other in colors and splatter everyone around whether they know them or not. The colored powders are stain-free and non-toxic which makes for easy cleanup and safe use on the skin. It is not advised to paint-bomb anyone not participating in the festival.
5. Holi in Singapore
There are many Indian and non-Indian residents of Singapore who love to take part in the Holi celebration here. The celebration that takes place in Singapore is quite different from those in India. In India, celebrations are more local while Singapore celebrates with extravagant events and fun parties.
Rang Barsay is the most famous Holi event in Singapore and people from all over the country come to enjoy the festivities by dancing to party songs played by the DJ and by throwing colored powder at each other. There are also food, sweets, and cocktails served at the party.
Rang De Holi is another big event. It is celebrated at the Wave House Sentosa and hosts a large crowd who come together to network and have lots of fun. The event has a DJ who plays party music and serves many kinds of foods and drinks.
6. Holi in Utah, USA
Every year at the end of March, the Holi Festival of Colors is held at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in the town of Spanish Fork, Utah. This Hindu temple is one of the only ones in Utah and is very welcoming towards visitors. No religious affiliation is required to attend the Holi celebrations.
The Holi Festival in Utah is a modern adaptation of the traditional Indian celebrations and only colored powders are used instead of liquid dyes. The colors provided by the temple are made from dyed cornstarch and will not stain your skin. The colors also won't stain your clothes if you shake them out before putting them in the wash.
Besides the color fight, the festival activities include live music, yoga, dancing, food, a bonfire, and the burning of an idol of the demoness Holika.
7. Holi in Madrid, Spain
The Festival of Colors is celebrated with complete fervor in Madrid. Every year, this city sees a surge of people who come together dressed in white for the celebrations. The festival takes place in the Plaza de Agustin de Lara which becomes packed with hundreds of participants during the color fight.
Originally the festival's organizers were mainly Hindu immigrants, but today the majority of the partygoers are young Spaniards who come for a new cultural experience and to have some fun.
Participants buy small pouches of colored powder which come in red, blue, green, yellow, orange, and purple. When the event begins, handfuls of powder are launched in the air making for excellent photos and turning the sky into a kaleidoscope of colors.
Aside from tossing handfuls of colored powder at one another, participants can also enjoy dancing to Indian music made popular by Bollywood films.
8. Holi in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Sao Paulo doesn't miss out on the celebrations of Holi and the people of this city enthusiastically await its arrival.
One of the biggest Holi events here is called the Holi Festival of Colors and is a music festival that includes electronic music, dancing, and a color fight.
It is customary to wear white shirts when attending and everyone comes to have fun together and enjoy the great music played by international DJs. Every few minutes, there is a color blast where the audience throws colored powder up in the air and at each other.
Aside from music, participants can also enjoy a range of activities such as yoga, meditation, and Hindu mantras.
9. Holi in Toronto, Canada
Holi Dhamaka is the biggest Holi celebration in Toronto. Located at the Preet Palace Banquet, the event features Bollywood dances, a color party, and delicious food that will make the experience truly unforgettable.
Participants are advised to wear clothes they don't mind getting ruined by the colors. The event also includes entertainment from a DJ who plays the latest Bollywood dance music and mouthwatering vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.
10. Holi in Mauritius
In Mauritius, the Holi celebrations last for two days. A week before the actual festival, markets and religious shops start decorating for the holiday and cover everything in a rainbow of colors.
Holi here kicks off with a bonfire on the eve of Holi. This is celebrated similarly to how it is in India with the burning of a statue of Holika, the evil demoness, as well as with dancing and folk songs.
The next day is when the color fights begin and participants throw water and vividly-colored powder at each other in parks, streets, and on beaches, while musicians play traditional songs accompanied by singers.
Later in the day after the color fight, you'll find people dancing, singing traditional songs, visiting family, and exchanging gifts.
Visit India with Asia Highlights
Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you design your perfect trip to India. Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today!
Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
Get Inspired with Our Sample Itineraries
At Asia Highlights, we create your kind of journey — your dates, your destinations, at your pace. You can have any trip tailor made for your travel.