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Holi 2023: Festival Dates, History, Importance & significance

Published Date: 09-Dec-2022

Celebrated in March every year, Holi is among the biggest Hindu festivals of all times. This festival of colours has a twofold significance: firstly, it marks an important mythical event, and secondly, it signals the end of winter and arrival of spring. Falling on the Purnima (full-moon night) of the Phalguna month and the day after, this two-day festival will fall on 8th March in 2023 as per the Gregorian calendar. The night before is celebrated as Holika Dahan and the next morning as Dhulendi.

Holi 2023 Date in Indian Calendar

  • Holi Festivals Date: March 8, 2023 (Wednesday)
  • Holika Dahan Date: March 7, 2023 (Tuesday)

Holi Festival History and Significance

Holika Dahan | Holi Festival 2020

Holika Dahan | Holi Festival 2023

As per the Puranas, the story of Holi predates even the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Satyuga (one of the four eras in Hindu cosmology), there ruled a mighty demon, Hiranyakashipu. His son, Prahlad, was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, which greatly angered the demon king. He thought of several ways to kill his son, all of which failed. One of the ways was to have his sister, Holika, sit with Prahlad in a fire as she had a magical cloak which made her impervious to the burning flames. However, when they sat in the fire, Lord Vishnu intervened by making the fire burn Holika, sparing Prahlad. The next morning, the locals indulged in revelry as they had finally gotten rid of the demoness.

Another legend states that Lord Krishna was in love with Radha, but feared that she wouldn’t accept him as she was fair and he was dark. On advice from his foster mother, Yashoda, he speared Radha’s face with coloured powder, which marked the beginning of their relationship.

Holi Festival Celebrations across India

Holi Festival Celebrations across India | Holi  2020

Holi Festival Celebrations across India | Holi 2023

The night before the festival of colours, huge piles of wood are set afire, symbolising the burning of Holika. Thereafter, in the morning, people of all ages put coloured powder, throw coloured water and even water balloons on each other. Revellers roam around their colony in groups, locally known as tolis, smearing whoever they see on the way with colours. Special sweets, including the iconic Gujiyas, are prepared in almost every Hindu household. Another traditional Holi preparation is a drink, called Thandai, which is infused with bhaang. In major cities like Delhi and Mumbai, parties are organised at large farmhouses, luxury hotels and resorts.

In Uttarakhand, especially the Kumaon region, Holi takes on a rather unique form as people start assembling in each other’s houses several months in advance, singing songs with the music of harmonium and tabla.

For an even more different face of Holi, visit Goa because the festival is celebrated here as Shigmotsav. During it, Konkani Hindus from villages come out in their most vibrant attire and flags, and dance and make merry in temple courtyards. It also marks the time of abstinence from intoxicants and meat, much like Lent. The 9-day festivities culminate with the parading of colourful floats or tableaux.

However, the grandest and most famous Holi celebrations are held in the Braj region, comprising Mathura and Vrindavan. In the iconic Lathmar Holi of Barsana, women chase men with sticks, symbolising an event that happened with Krishna and his gopis. Another noteworthy event is the Holi celebrated by widows, who have been marginalised in the religion; thus, becoming a symbol of women empowerment in the recent times. 

Also, Know About the Deepawali 2023 Date

Best Places to Observe the Celebrations of Holi

  • Mathura
  • Vrindavan
  • Barsana
  • Uttarakhand
  • Goa
  • Delhi

Other Festivals in India with Holiday Type

Festivals in India Day Date Holiday Type
New Year Sunday 1 January Public
Lohri Saturday 14 January Restricted
Makar Sankranti Saturday 14 January Restricted
Pongal Sunday 15 January Restricted
Basant Panchmi Thursday 26 January Restricted
Republic Day Thursday 26 January Public
Guru Ravidass Jayanti Sunday 5 February Restricted
Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti Wednesday 15 February Restricted
Mahashivratri Saturday 18 February Restricted
Losar Tuesday 21 February Restricted
Holi Wednesday 8 March Public
Ram Navami Thursday 30 March Restricted
Mahavir Jayanti Tuesday 4 April Restricted
Good Friday Friday 7 April Public
Easter Sunday 9 April Restricted
Vaisakhi Friday 14 April Restricted
Eid Ul Fitr Saturday 22 April Public
Buddha Purnima Friday 5 May Public
Rabindra Jayanti Tuesday 9 May Restricted
Rath Yatra Tuesday 20 June Restricted
Eid Al Adha Thursday 29 June Restricted
Muharram Saturday 29 July Public
Independence Day Tuesday 15 August Public
Parsi New Year Navroz Wednesday 16 August Restricted
Onam Tuesday 29 August Restricted
Raksha Bandhan Wednesday 30 August Restricted
Janmashtami Thursday 7 September Restricted
Ganesh Chaturthi Tuesday 19 September Restricted
Id E Milad Thursday 28 September Public
Gandhi Jayanti Monday 2 October Public
Shardiya Navratri Sunday 15 October No Holiday
Durga Puja Friday 20 October No Holiday
Dussehra Tuesday 24 October Public
Valmiki Jayanti Saturday 28 October Restricted
Halloween Day Tuesday 31 October No Holiday
Karva Chauth Tuesday 1 November Restricted
Karnataka Rajyotsava Tuesday 1 November Restricted
Kerala Piravi Tuesday 1 November Restricted
Ahoi Ashtami Sunday 5 November No Holiday
Dhanteras Saturday 11 November No Holiday
Diwali Sunday 12 November Public
Kali Puja Sunday 12 November No Holiday
Lakshmi Puja Sunday 12 November No Holiday
Govardhan Puja Monday 13 November Public
Bhai Dooj Tuesday 14 November Restricted
Chhath Puja Sunday 19 November Restricted
Guru Nanak Jayanti Monday 27 November Public
Kartik Purnima Monday 27 November No Holiday
Christmas Monday 25 December Public

Sargun Preet Kaur
Sargun has an appetite for challenges and creative hurdles that can help her grow as she conquers them one by one. With an innate desire to travel the world, she weaves through life by visiting her dream destinations. When not in her creative zone, Sargun loves to smash in badminton and binge-watch her favourite shows.
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