I hadn't heard about Holi until a couple of years ago, but once I knew a little about the Festival of Colors, I wanted to know more! T...

A Colorful Collection of Holi Activities


I hadn't heard about Holi until a couple of years ago, but once I knew a little about the Festival of Colors, I wanted to know more! This year, I had the pleasure of speaking with author Sandhya Acharya and learned a lot more about the colorful holiday.

Holi is a popular spring festival celebrated in India during the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna. There are many stories that accompany the origin of this ancient festival. One popular version is that of Prahlad, a devout young boy. Prahlad survives various attempts of his evil Uncle Hiranyakashipu to silence him, including an attempt by Holikia, Hiranyakashipu's sister, to burn him. Ultimately, Hiranyakashipu is destroyed. A bonfire is lit the night before Holi to celebrate this victory of good over evil. In another version, Holi is the commemoration of the divine love of Radha to the God Krishna. Another legend is that Kama disturbs the God Shiva in his penance at the behest of Parvati, Shiva's consort. When Shiva destroys him, Parvati and Rati, Kama's consort, pray for Kama to be forgiven. Holi is the celebration of Lord Kama being restored to life. Regardless of the version, ultimately the festival symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. People celebrate it by donning white clothes and then throwing or splashing colors on each other (friends, family, and sometimes strangers too!) accompanied by music, dance, food, and laughter. They draw colorful rangolis and cook delicious foods and sweets that they exchange with family, friends, and neighbors. Entire neighborhoods are drenched in bright colors and happiness during this festival. It is rightly called the Festival of Colors.

To help everyone learn about and celebrate this festival, I have compiled a list of resources including stories, colorful activities, dance, and food.

Books (video read aloud links)

Culture Groove Kids - Story of Holi

Festival of Colors - Kabir Seghal

Holi - Uma Krishnaswami

Colorful Activities

Sand rangoli

Natural rangoli

Eco-friendly colored powders (made from dried flowers, leaves, spices...)

Homemade colored powders (using flour and food coloring)

Splatter painting 

Marble painting (for a less messy option!)

Homemade face paint

We made the face paint today, but we used conditioner instead of lotion because that's what was readily available. The paints came out a little gloopy, didn't spread very smoothly, and flaked off pretty easily after they dried, but Lil C and Squidgy were really excited to be able to paint my face!


Dance with Miss Priya - Miss Priya has a couple dance videos just for Holi along with a bunch more Indian dance tutorials


I highly recommend getting some takeout from a local Indian restaurant - it's the best way to try Indian food if you've never had any before and the best way to eat it without having to spend all day in the kitchen! But here are a few things you can make at home.

Gulab Jamun (check my post about the book, "10 Gulab Jamuns"!)

Semi-Homemade Ricotta Rasmalai

Mango Lassi (I doubled the recipe and used 2 cups frozen mango)

I hope this post helped you all understand a little bit more about the festival of Holi and gave you some fun ideas to use when you are learning about it with your family!