Article: Significance of Holi

United Colors of Holi

February 22, 2022

Holi is a Hindu spring festival observed in India and the Indian Diaspora. Holi festivities will begin on March 18, 2022. Holi serves as a reminder of being positive and hopeful. This idea is demonstrated in nature since the time of spring is when many plants bloom and animals become more active. In the winter, the environment is often snowy and cold and not very conducive to social interactions. The rise in temperature and sunlight brings comfort and encourages overall wellness. There is a greater sense of community building since more people are out of their homes interacting with one another. With better conditions, farmers can harvest many of their crops and nourish their communities.

Holi is commonly observed by people throwing colored powder or water at one another with great pomp and joy. The act is a reminder to spread positive emotions to one another. For example, yellow represents hope or green represents nobility. The throwing of colors is done diligently and amusingly. Along with participating in these festivities, people often prepare large meals. They invite loved ones and well-wishers to partake in meals and comradery as one large family.

Although based on Hindu scriptures and traditions, Holi is a festival that can be celebrated by all people. Holi encompasses the shared experience of spring and the positive emotions that are evoked from the vivid and bright atmosphere. Anyone can join in the festivities since they inherently promote companionship and mutual respect.

There are two events found in the sacred history of Hindu Dharma that explain the observance of Holi. One explains the destruction of the demons and demonesses. King Hiranyakashapur was a demon who wreaked havoc on the world and wanted to destroy his son Prahalad, a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. He tried many ways to destroy his son, even enlisting the help of his sister, Holika, who tried to burn her nephew alive but failed. Lord Narsimha, the half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu then appeared and destroyed Hiranyakashapur. Another event is the reincarnation of Kamadeva, the deity of affection, as Pradyumna, who reunited with his consort, Rati, the deity of spring. In the history of Hinduism, there are many episodes of deities celebrating Holi such as Lord Rama with the people of Ayodhya and Lord Krishna with the people of Vrindavan.

Holi begins with the planting of a castor oil plant that symbolizes the demoness, Holika, on a date known as Vasant Panchami, forty days before Holi. On the night of Holi, which is the full moon, the plant is burned. The next day, Holi is commonly observed with great splendor and enthusiasm as people throw colored water and powder on each other. Many other devotees engage in chowtal, or singing in specific meters, about the Hindu deities and their Holi pastimes.

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Press Release: Announcing United Colors of Holi

A picture containing logo Description automatically generated Announcing United Colors of Holi 


March 17, 2022


The Following statement was issued by a Coalition of Dharmic Organizations in North America

Over 110 major American Hindu organizations and temples have joined together to celebrate Holi festival as United Colors of Holi to celebrate diversity and unity in our country

 For thousands of years, Holi, the festival of color, has celebrated the advent of spring and the end of winter, the victory of truth and justice, and a day when the communities gather, to play, enjoy, forget and forgive.  

 United Colors of Holi is an outreach initiative by Hindu organizations to non-Hindu and non-Indian communities to rejoice together as spring bursts into bloom.  Vibrant colors bring the communities together in the traditional celebration of Holi, where differences between individuals, jati, varna, creed, languages and regions disappear.  Now, we are creating a new American tradition, United Colors of Holi, to bring the communities of all colors, races, nationalities and ethnicities together during the week of Holi. 

 Since the 1960s, Hindus have enriched every aspect of American life.  Today, when the USA and Canada are going through divisive times, Hindu tradition can show the way.  The underlying Hindu principle of universalism, expressed as “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” – Entire Universe is One Family sends a powerful message of harmony and acceptance.  As we celebrate Holi, we will remind our communities, Hindus and non-Hindus, that our nationalities, races, ethnicities, and colors of our skins are merely outward expressions, and outward celebration of our inner selves, of the inner, immortal universal soul.


United Colors of Holi is a joint effort of all Hindus in America just as Hindu Heritage Month was celebrated across America in October 2021. Hindu organizations are invited to sign-up as partners for this nation-wide effort.  The partner organizations will then celebrate Holi in their own way, with the goal of outreach to the non-Indian and non-Hindu communities.  We will welcome all partner organizations to join us for the virtual inaugural and concluding events. 

Prof. Ved Nanda, President of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) commented:

 “This significant initiative vividly reflects the salient Hindu tenet, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. It thoroughly resonates with the brilliant image of the magnificent rainbow that is America.

 Ajay Shah, President of World Hindu Council of America (VHPA) said:

 “Today, the world craves for equality, equity and equanimity.  What better occasion than Holi to come together and cherish what unites us?  What better message than Vasudhaiva Kutumbalam?  We welcome everyone, all nationalities, ethnicities, races, genders etc. to come together and celebrate and contemplate how we can uplift the society.”

 Nikunj Trivedi, President of Coalition of Hindu of North America said:

 “United Colors of Holi is a beautiful undertaking and exemplifies the true nature of this sacred and joyous Hindu festival – the underlying unity in the pluralist and diverse traditions within Hinduism. It welcomes all regardless of social, economic, religious or political backgrounds to celebrate and put aside negativities and animosity. We respect the divinity that exists in all and everything around us through the festival of Holi. This spirit is much needed more than anything today.”

Sohini Sircar, Chairwoman of Hindu Students Council Board of Trustees commented:

“United Colors of Holi is a wonderful initiative that really gets to the true nature of the festival: celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion. This is a time of year when we remind ourselves of the Hindu concept that the entire university is made up of the same essence that unites existence. This concept leads to our sense of acceptance and belonging with people of all ethnicities, faiths, genders, ages and religions. United Colors of Holi ties in well with HSC’s Holi for Unity campaign,”

 Arun Kankani, President of Sewa International, USA said:

 “This being an effort to unite humanity beyond all differences with the message of Universal Oneness and Universe as one family, which aligns with Sewa’s guiding principles, we are happy to part of this this noble effort to unite all communities with message of Oneness, harmony and peace which is very much needed at these turbulent times.”

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