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Celebrating Holi Festival | A riot of colour and love

Celebrating Holi Festival | A riot of colour and love

India is never more colourful than during Holi, an ancient Hindu festival that marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is a jubilant celebration of love and the victory of good over evil, where people all across the country come together to feast and dance.  We share the vibrant traditions that take place across the country, as well as a number of ways you can enjoy Holi from home.

Our team celebrating Holi Festival

Flower petals being thrown by our team

The history of Holi

Holi or ‘Holika’ is one of the most ancient festivals in India, dating back to the 4th Century. Its origins come from a mix of Hindu mythology, including the popular legend of Hiranyakashyap – a demon king who wanted to be immortal. The festival is mostly celebrated in India and Nepal, but the jubilant event has become popular all across the world.

Two days of celebrations

‘Holika Dahan’ is the eve of Holi, when the legend of Hiranyakashyap is signified with a large bonfire. In the lead-up, locals spend days collecting wood and materials, which are typically burnt at sunset with effigies of Holika placed on top. This ritual commemorates the burning of the demon Holika, and everyone huddles around in a moving ceremony to pray for good fortune and sing together.

In North and West India, the second day of Holi ‘Rangwali Holi’ is when people of all ages and genders take to the streets to celebrate life. An iridescent rainbow of petals and gulal powder paints everyone in sight, paying homage to the bright colours seen throughout spring.  Traditionally, four colours of gulal are thrown: blue symbolises Krishna, red is love, yellow for turmeric and green for new life. It is a heartfelt celebration of friendship, forgiveness, and of course, fun.


Classic Grey Mother of Pearl Chest of Drawers

Our lovely team of artisans in India

Ways to celebrate at home

Handcrafted in India

Our story started with one woman’s trip to India all the way back in 1974. The country’s vibrant essence is what inspired our creation, and it continues to inspire us everyday. We’ve been commissioning inlay furniture since Jamie and Antonia first visited the workshops of Udaipur in the 1990s. Today we still work with the same workshop, which employs more than 350 craftsmen, some of them third or fourth-generation Master Craftsmen working from their own studios in the surrounding villages. Each of these exquisite pieces takes weeks of painstaking and highly skilled work, using techniques that have been passed down through the years. Incorporating these stunning heirlooms in your home honours India’s wonderful culture and the talented locals that we’ve had the privilege of meeting on our journey.


Host a feast

During Holi, the evenings are celebrated by visiting family and friends, exchanging sweets and warm embraces. Mouth-watering specialities are savoured: such as gujiya, malpuas, mathri and puran poli and they are downed with glasses full of thandai. The festival is a time for peace and unity, so why not invite some of your loved ones over for a homemade feast? You could even try making some of the traditional dishes. Gathering around a fire is also a symbolic part of the festival, and reminiscing on happy memories under the stars will feel deeply grounding.

We hope this article has inspired your own Holi celebrations at home. If you’d like to read more, we’d recommend these Mindful Ways to Rewild yourself or Our Tips for Alfresco Entertaining.

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