All over India on Wednesday, March 23, a bright array of colors will fly through the air and decorate India’s streets and people. This is India’s festival of colors, or Holi as it is officially known.
The Holi celebrations will start on March 22 with bonfires, but the big celebration begins on March 23 when people play with color in the streets. How do people play with colors? They throw them on each other! People join in on the festival with their colored powder or colored water and typically not many are left without some bright color on them.
Holi is a time of celebration for many in India. People have large feasts and get together with friends and family. Some say that the Hindu religion views Holi as a day that celebrates life by allowing the Hindu believer a “free day” to sin and not have punishment. Others say it is a time to celebrate oneness with everyone, even those from different castes.
Holi is also a time when people welcome in the spring season, which is a season of renewal. It is a time for the non-religious to have fun in the color, but it is also a time for the deeply-religious to perform yearly rituals. Many believe that being covered in color and then washed represents ridding oneself of hatred and gaining love for all people.
The bonfires that light up the country on the first day of the holiday is a time when Hindus burn Holika as a symbol of society’s evils. Holika, the demoness, and Prahlada, Vishnu’s devotee, are the main deities of Holi who are worshipped during the festival.
As people celebrate the festival of colors this week, take time to pray for India, our prayer focus for Secret Church 16: A Global Gospel in a World of Religions.
Pray for Holi in India:
- Pray for Christians in India who participate in Holi to have opportunities to build relationships and share the gospel at a time with togetherness is valued.
- Pray for Hindus who either look for a “free day” to sin or see the colors washing off as a symbol of their sin to hear of Jesus who died to cleanse them of sin for eternity.
- Pray for God to be glorified and worshipped in a place where more than 330 million gods are feared and worshipped every day.