Holi 2024: Holi, a festive extravaganza celebrated with enthusiasm across India and beyond, is a symbolic representation of the triumph of good over evil and the heralding of spring. This joyous occasion brings together millions, fostering unity and spreading exuberance among friends and family.
Weeks in advance, preparations for the two-day festival kick off, transforming streets into vibrant spectacles with colourful decorations. Markets bustle with activity as shoppers flock to purchase essentials such as coloured powders (gulal), water guns, and sweets.
Holi 2024 Date and Timing
Scheduled towards the end of the Hindu month of Phalguna, Holi’s first day involves lighting a bonfire on the evening of Purnima, symbolising the defeat of the demoness Holika. The subsequent day, known as Padwa, is earmarked for playing Holi and falls on March 24 (Sunday) and 25 (Monday) in the Gregorian calendar. The first day is also referred to as Chhoti Holi.
The auspicious time (muhurat) for Holi celebrations is set from 7.19 pm to 9.38 pm on March 24, with festivities continuing on March 25.
Traditional Rituals and Puja on Holi
Performing puja on the first day involves specific items such as raw cotton thread, coconut, gulal powder, vermilion, akshat (rice grains), incense sticks, flowers, batasha (sugar powder sweets), turmeric, and a bowl of water. ‘Holika Dahan’ rituals include tying raw cotton threads around a wood pile, sprinkling Ganga water, and worshiping the structure with various offerings.
As the sun rises on Holi morning, people gather in open spaces, parks, and streets to engage in the colorful revelry of applying hues to one another. The festival transcends beyond mere colors, fostering camaraderie and breaking down social barriers. Strangers become friends, and old grievances are forgiven amid laughter and merriment.
Beyond the joy of colours, Holi is also a time to indulge in delectable treats. Gujiyas, sweet dumplings filled with khoya (a milk product), and thandai, a refreshing drink infused with nuts and spices, take centre stage as traditional delicacies enjoyed during the festivities.