The Festival of Holi: A Kaleidoscope of Customs Across India

Holi, the vibrant festival of colors, is celebrated with fervor and enthusiasm throughout India. However, the customs and traditions associated with Holi vary from region to region, adding to the rich tapestry of cultural diversity in the country. Let’s take a colorful journey across India to explore the unique customs observed during this joyous festival.

Lathmar Holi in Uttar Pradesh

In the town of Barsana and Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh, Holi takes on a playful and spirited form known as Lathmar Holi. Here, women chase men with sticks (lathis) in a reenactment of Lord Krishna’s playful teasing of Radha and her friends. The men, in turn, try to shield themselves with shields (dhal) as they are playfully beaten by the women, amidst laughter and merry-making.

Phoolon ki Holi in Uttarakhand

In Uttarakhand, the hill station of Kumaon celebrates Holi with a unique twist known as Phoolon ki Holi or the Flower Holi. Instead of colored powders, vibrant flower petals are used to shower blessings and spread joy. This gentle and fragrant celebration adds a touch of nature’s beauty to the festival.

Hola Mohalla in Punjab

In Punjab, Holi coincides with the Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla, celebrated with martial arts displays, mock battles, and processions. This grand festival, initiated by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, showcases the valor and martial spirit of the Sikh community, as they come together to demonstrate their strength and unity.

Dol Jatra in West Bengal

In West Bengal, Holi is celebrated as Dol Jatra or Dol Purnima, dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha. Devotees carry the divine couple’s idols in colorful processions, singing and dancing to traditional songs known as “kirtans.” The atmosphere is filled with joyous chants and the playful spraying of colored powders, marking the arrival of spring.

Manjal Kuli in Kerala

In Kerala, Holi is known as Manjal Kuli or the Turmeric Festival. Here, instead of colorful powders, people smear each other with turmeric paste, believed to have purifying and medicinal properties. This unique custom reflects the diverse cultural practices observed across India during Holi.

Royal Holi in Rajasthan

Rajasthan celebrates Holi with grandeur and pomp, especially in the city of Jaipur. The royal family hosts an extravagant celebration at the majestic City Palace, where visitors can witness traditional folk performances, elephant processions, and cultural showcases. This regal affair attracts tourists from around the world to experience the royal charm of Holi.

Embracing Diversity: A Quiz on Holi Customs Across India

Holi is not just a festival of colors; it’s a celebration of India’s rich cultural heritage and unity in diversity. As we revel in the vibrant hues of Holi, let’s embrace the customs and traditions that make this festival a symbol of joy, harmony, and togetherness across the country.

Now that you’ve learned about the diverse customs of Holi celebrated across different states of India, test your knowledge with a HatQuest quiz! Click here to take the quiz and discover how well you know the cultural traditions of Holi. You can also play it as a trivia competition with your friends and compare scores.

Happy Holi!


Radhika Shenoy