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Holi, the festival of colors, is one of the most famous holidays to take place in India and celebrates the victory of good over evil.
Holi takes place around the time of the last full moon in March. Because the date of the festival is based on the lunar calendar, the timing changes every year.
In 2021, Holi will take place on March 28th and 29th.
Sunday, March 28th is the night of the full moon when most of the religious rituals such as Holika Dahan, or the ritual bonfire, will take place. Monday, March 29th will be the day of the color fight when the whole country takes to the streets to celebrate.
|Celebration||Holika Dahan 2021||Holi 2021|
|Date||March 28||March 29|
|Event Details||Communities build large pyres where they perform the ritual burning of the demon Holika. This day is also called Chhoti Holi or “Little Holi”.||People head to temples and take to the streets armed with colored powders, water balloons, and water guns to join in the giant color fight.|
In most of India, the Holi celebrations last for 2 days. The first day is when the religious rituals and bonfire take place and the second day is when the color fight breaks out.
Some areas of India celebrate the festival for much longer than two days. Mathura and Vrindavan are famous as the birthplace of Lord Krishna who is one of the gods that is honored on Holi. In these cities, celebrations last for over a week and include multiple color fights and religious rituals.
Holi is an important holiday in India and most states give residents a public holiday on the day of the color fight (this year that will be on March 29th).
Only six states do not have a public holiday on this day and those states include Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Pondicherry, and Tamil Nadu. These states do not have a public holiday for Holi because the festival is either celebrated differently or not at all in these areas.
In India, each state is very different from its neighbors and likely has its own unique culture and language. Because of this, many states celebrate Holi differently from one another.
While most of India will celebrate Holi 2021 on March 28th and 29th, there are some states that will hold their events on different days.
Here is a list of the festival events that are celebrated on a different date along with their locations and a brief description.
|Lathmar Holi||Barsana, Uttar Pradesh||Around a week before Holi (official date will be added when announced)||During Lathmar Holi in Barsana, the men from Nandagoan arrive to try and take over the temple and the women playfully fend them off with sticks.|
|Lathmar Holi||Nandgoan, Uttar Pradesh||Around a week before Holi (official date will be added when announced)||The next day, the roles are reversed and the men of Barsana head to Nandgoan to be fended off by the women with sticks.|
|Banke Bihari Temple||Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh||4 days leading up to Holi (Estimated March 25-29)||The festivities start at the temple with Phoolon Wali Holi, the throwing of the flowers, on the first day and end with a color fight.|
|Basanta Utsav||Shantiniketan, West Bengal||March 27 to March 29||Every year in Shantiniketan the Holi celebrations start with folk dance performances and folk art exhibits. The celebrations end with a color fight on March 10.|
|Hola Mohalla||Anandpur Sahib, Punjab||March 30||Hola Mohalla is a Sikh holiday where the military skills and strength of Sikh men are celebrated through martial arts performances at a large fair in Anandpur Sahib.|
The reason that the date of Holi changes every year is that, like many other Hindu holidays, the timing of this festival is based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar which is a combination of moon phases and sun cycles into one calendar system.
The lunar calendar is often used for religious purposes and marks important days of worship whereas the solar calendar is used for day-to-day schedules and is sometimes called the civil calendar.
Holi takes place on the last full moon of the lunar month of Phalguna which marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The rituals of Holika Dahan start only when the full moon is visible in the evening and because of this will begin at different times across the country.
Here are all the dates of the festival of colors in India from 1990 to 2030.
Included in the table are only the dates of Holi, the second day of celebrating when the color fight takes place. Holika Dahan will occur the day before the dates listed.
Learn about everything you need to know about the festival including what it is and how to celebrate. Holi is most famous for its color fight but celebrations also include rituals, desserts, and street food.
Take a look at the top places to celebrate in India to start planning your trip and deciding where you want to experience this incredible festival. Rajasthan is a great place for Holi. We especially love the cities of Udaipur, Pushkar, and Jaipur.
Learn about how to plan your trip to India for Holi including what to pack, how to plan, how to book your hotel, and more.
Get some essential info on how to celebrate Holi safely as a traveler and how to wash off the colors after the festival is over.
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