21 March 2019
This ancient Hindu ritual to mark the beginning of spring – otherwise known as the Festival of Colours due to the bright powder participants throw at each other – is essentially a two-day celebration of the triumph of good over evil. The proceedings begin with the lighting of Holika bonfires, symbolising how the God Vishnu helped burn the devil Holika, according to Hindu scriptures. The next day, Rangwali Holi is when people delight in covering their neighbours in water and a rainbow of gulal, or paint powder (apparently Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, liked to prank village girls in this manner). While Holi is observed throughout the world, the best places to see the festival are India and Nepal, especially Delhi, Varanasi, Vrindavan and Jaipur. One note: women should avoid walking about alone during Holi as some men take it as an opportunity to get a little too friendly!