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Traditional festivals

Holi Festival 2020 – Festival of Colours

girl with sunglasses and coloured powder
Written by Daniella

Holi Festival, which is also known as Festival of Colours or sometimes called Festival of Love, is celebrated in many parts of the world and also in Barcelona. This is originally a Hindu celebration, although the ancient festival has now become a popular celebration of colour and happiness.

The festival is an incredible display of young people jumping cheerfully up and down, while throwing powder in lots of colours. It is a symbol of the arrival of spring, parting with the harsh winter.

Would you like to learn more about this colourful festival? Today’s article by ShBarcelona will do just that.

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Meaning and history of Holi Festival 2020

Holi Festival is a massive and popular event in India, Nepal and other places in South Asia. It is a typically Hindu festival, not only symbolizing the arrival of spring, but also celebrating victory of good over evil. Besides this, it is a way of thanking nature for the crops that will soon be ready to be harvested.

coloured powder thrown in the air

Photo via Pixabay

In India and Nepal Holi festival will be celebrated next Tuesday, March 10, 2020, although celebrations really only start at dusk, after lighting the bonfire (or Holika Dahan). People freely express their happiness and sing and dance around the fire. This is a ritual that symbolizes good over evil.

This festival has had a long tradition, and it is said that it originates from before Christ. Its interpretation, however, has changed over time. In the past it used to be a ritual that was carried out by married women, in order to have a happy marriage and blessed family. Sometimes people would even gather together to worship the full moon.

Traditionally, and one night before the festival, they lit a bonfire in homage to Prahalad, who was the son of a devil king. Prahalad was hated by his father for being devoted to the god Vishnu. The king tried to kill his son repeatedly, but he didn’t succeed, and that is why he went to Holika.

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She was a witch who was immune to fire, and the king thought that if she would take his son on her lap in the middle of a fire, he could finally get rid of him. Unfortunately, this didn’t work either and Prahalad was still alive, because he was protected by his god Vishnu.

group covered in coloured powder

Photo via Pixabay

So this is the legend we spoke of earlier in the article, the fire as a symbol of good versus evil. Nowadays, the festival’s highlights are its colourful powders being thrown into the air and completely covering the visitors that are attending the festival.

Since the event symbolizes the beginning of spring, you will see many powders in colours that can be found in nature. In the old days the powder was made of cornstarch, turmeric and flower extracts, but synthetic versions are now being used most of the time.

Each colour represents something different: red is for love, beauty and marriage, and green is for harvest, fertility and new beginnings. Yellow is another important colour during Holi festival, and it represents turmeric, which was used for medicinal purposes in ancient times. We still use turmeric to treat digestive issues or inflammatory problems.

Will you be celebrating Holi Festival in Barcelona in 2020?

About the author

Daniella

Daniella enjoys everything the city of Barcelona has to offer. She writes, translates and loves discovering Catalonia and its beautiful nature.

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