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Home Indian Diaspora Holi: celebrating 'Colors of Joy' across the world

Holi: celebrating ‘Colors of Joy’ across the world

By Syona Sachdeva

Holi, famously known as ‘festival of colors’, is a Hindu religious festival celebrated in the spring season. For some, it is a way to celebrate joy. Many may call it spreading love and togetherness and others might simply say it is adding colors to our life.

Holi, in all, is a celebration of love, colors, and ecstasy.

Bura na mano Holi hai (meaning don’t feel offended, it’s Holi) is a popular saying heard during Holi since it is the time to share the happiness and fun with friends and family.

The Hindu festival is not only celebrated in India but across the world where Indians or people of Indian origin have settled. They celebrate the festival with enthusiasm, playing with different colors and water and lighting a bonfire called Holika.

Different communities organize the event gathering Indians together for it binds them with people of the same origin and with their roots as well giving them a sense of their culture. It is a popular festival in different countries besides India including Nepal, Bangladesh, USA, Mauritius and many others.


The festival of colors is the most colorful and lively festival celebrated in Nepal. Nepal being a neighboring country of India, is a Hindu dominant country and the festival of colors is an important festival in the country. The day is an official holiday of the year when people enjoy the fun filled day with colors and water, throwing water balloons and playing with water guns. Holi at its best is seen in Kathmandu streets of Thamel and Durbar square where the place is packed with people, especially kids.

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Though Bangladesh is a Muslim dominant country, it shows a noticeable amount of celebration among the Hindu minorities in the country. The Celebration might not be in large scale but it does take place. People gather in temples and exchange greetings and play with dry colors.

Holika Dahan is to be celebrated on 23rd March in Dhaka which is also known as Choti Holi to light the Holika. A day after on 24th March Rangwa Holi will be celebrated with dry and wet colors.

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Guyana will witness the Holi festival this year on 23th March which will be a public holiday. Holi or Phagwa, as known by Guyanese has been celebrated in high spirits by people for many years. The day is celebrated by singing special songs called ‘ Chowtaals’ and spraying colored powder(abrack) and water(abeer).

Holi Utsav Festival’ event is organized for celebrating Holi on the 23rd march in Guyana at Everest Cricket Ground to keep the tradition and paint the country with colors of joy.

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The island of Mauritius has a large number of Hindu community who will be celebrating Holi on 23rd and 24th March. It is a known festival in Mauritius, celebrated with ‘gulaal’, waterjets and people singing and dancing.

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Suriname, a country in South America, comprises of 27% Indians which happens to be descendants of 19th-century contract workers from India. They have arrived from Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Since then this festival has been an important festival among Indian origin Surinamese. Just as in India, they enjoy the festival coloring each other, dancing to music and eating delicacies like kheer, ghujiya, bara, Prasad etc.

Holi Phagwa Manifestatie event is to take place on 23rd March in Suriname at Palmtree Graden Paramaribo from 11:00 am to 9 pm to celebrate the festival of colors.

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South Africa is no exception. Gujarati’s and other Indians settled in South Africa has kept the tradition of celebrating Holi in full spirit. All rituals from burning Holika to playing with colors, singing Holi songs to exchanging greeting and sweets with each other take place.

The majority of Indians live in and around the city of Durban which now has become the largest city of Indians outside India.

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