[ hoh-lee ]
/ ˈhoʊ li /
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the Hindu spring festival.
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Origin of Holi

1905–10; <Hindi holī<Prakrit holiyā < Skt holikā
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is Holi?

Holi is a two-day Hindu spring festival that’s primarily celebrated in India. It’s especially known for festive street celebrations in which people cover each other with colored powder.

Holi is pronounced the same as the word holy.

It’s sometimes known as the Festival of Colors.

When is Holi?

In 2022, Holi takes place on March 17 and 18. In 2023, Holi takes place on March 7 and 8.

Holi begins on the day of the full moon in the month of Phalgun on the Hindu calendar. This means that it can fall in February or March.

Where does Holi come from?

The first records of the word Holi in English come from the early 1900s. It comes from the Sanskrit word Holikā, the name of a demon whose story is important to the festival.

Holi is an ancient festival whose traditions have been shaped by many stories from Hindu scriptures. The bonfires that are lit on the first night of Holi are often associated with the story of the victory of the god Vishnu over the demon Hiranyakashipu and his sister Holika, which is seen as a triumph of good over evil.

The Holi tradition of festivalgoers merrily covering each other with colored powder is thought to be based on the story of the god Krishna painting the skin of Radha, the milkmaid who becomes his consort.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Holi?

How is Holi discussed in real life?

Holi is popularly associated with the colorful street celebrations involving the festive throwing of colored powder.

Try using Holi!

True or False?

Holi takes place in the Hindu month of Phalgun.

How to use Holi in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Holi

/ (ˈhɒˌliː) /

a Hindu spring festival, celebrated for two to five days, commemorating Krishna's dalliance with the cowgirls. Bonfires are lit and coloured powder and water thrown over celebrants

Word Origin for Holi

named after Holika, legendary female demon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012