Festivals and celebrations, LIFESTYLE

Why I hate Holi

After the cold winter days when the sun gets warmer, we in India celebrate the coming of Spring with colour . People get together to throw coloured powder on one another, sing and dance to welcome better days .

However, for me , it’s that time of year when people come banging at your door to wish you a happy Holi.

Luckily this year , I’m too far away for anyone to bang on my door but funnily enough I got the very same message from two different friends in two different continents wishing me a very happy Holi.

But it’s not happy for me , I want to tell them. I just hate this festival.

And for more reasons than one.

Why I hate Holi

  • It is dirty : What is so exciting about having colour thrown on your face ? Or worse still, coloured water that only has you looking black and unrecognisable?

I remember being terrorised by the thought of some one flinging colour on my clothes or squirting me with water. Not only was this messy but extremely icky. The kids would either throw a dry powder or worse still, make a thick paste with which they would plaster your face . And horror of horrors, when they ran out of gulal or colour, they would actually pick up MUD and smear each other with that!

  • It is an excuse for groping: Yes , believe it or not, I used to actually cringe at the thought of the old uncles or older boys putting colour all over you in a manner that was quite revolting .

With colour making them unrecognisable, some of the unsavoury elements in our colony would grab this chance to feel Uppal the girls who were actually out of their reach in normal times.

  • It is dangerous : Organic colours are something new. When we were growing up the local baniya would sell off anything as Holi colour and if you weren’t careful, had serious skin problems with the dyes used . I remember one Holi, one bright spark actually put silver oil paint on everyone and they all thought it a brilliant idea till they discovered that their eyes were smarting with the smell and fumes the paint let off .

One Holi, my mother-in-law who was on holiday found a water balloon hit her through the open window of the car she was traveling in. She sustained an eye injury which was minor compared to the damage she could have sustained, assured the ophthalmologist who treated her black and swollen eye.

  • It is rowdy: More often than not , Holi is a licence to binge drink, dance and even take ganja laced thandai which makes the revellers even more raucous and rowdy.

I remember even in our girls hostel, the girls would bang on your door and insist on dragging you out to join in the “fun”. If this is what the girls did, I’d hate to imagine what the boys were up to .So do you find it weird that Holi was one of my least loved festivals?

It wasn’t always like this though. As little children , we played Holi with our cousins . That was fun , sedate and contained . But as I approached my teens and was living in a large colony, I began to dread the day. To avoid being pulled out , I would actually get into a public bus and go up and down the same route till the festival was officially declared over at lunch time .

However, to each his own and I wish all those who celebrate this festival a happy holi.

Do not forget that this is a Spring Festival, a festival of joy.

Image of Bellybytes

Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. I actually used to enjoy holi as a kid. It was fun filled time. But I haven’t played holi in over a decade. All the harsh colors and mud slinging has really put me off. I just don’t want to be bothered. Plus with the rise in cases of groping, holi isn’t as beautiful as it was.

  2. Many of my friends have been similarly terrorised by holi. It has somehow become a festival of hooliganism where people don’t respect boundaries. It’s much worse in Delhi and can be highly unsafe.
    Having said this in agreement with you I declare that I love HOLI – even more so now that when I was young because of the organic colours made of flower petals. I play only with friends and if I meet my neighbours on my way to my similarly inclined friends I proffer my organic colour at them, claiming rashes and allergies.
    Playing holi then consists of dabbing colour artistically on each other, sitting down outside somewhere on a balcony or in a garden, since we can’t mess up our homes, eating gujias – a sweet I can’t get enough of – and drinking beer. The morning is spent outdoors amongst the spring flowers and in the evening there’s the gorgeous full moon to look forward to.
    Come play Holi with me Belly Bytes.

    1. Yes that sounds a more civilised way of welcoming Spring and would love to do so one day . Let’s hope that more people follow your suit and Holi once again becomes a joyful celebration

  3. I was scared of Holi as a child. Then I played 2 or 3 years till I became a teen and the groping became a reality. I stopped after that. But, in our days, a month before holi, it would be difficult to go to the local shops as we would get bombarded with water cannons from the different societies we passed through. So there.. I like to watch them playing. My sons are out now playing holi and having fun. But, color me not pls.

  4. As kids, Holi was my favourite festival. But now I hate this festival with a vengeance, for all the reasons you have mentioned. A family friend of ours lost the vision in his eye because of a Holi balloon. And while you apply organic colours on others, people use all kind of harsh colors and dirty things. 🙁

  5. oh you are not the only one where Sunita- I HATE and DREAD this fesitval to no end and am praying a public ban on open display of festivities so that no one is lomested/harmed in its name!
    I sympathise with you whole heartedly; cant imagine traveling in a public bus the hwole day to avoid the festival – didnt anyone trouble you in the bus with colour?

    1. Luckily colour was banned in the bus . And frankly it took only two trips and three hours so was quite doable . But this was in the 1970’s so you can imagine what it must have been like – no mobile no internet

  6. It can surely be troublesome especially for women. The most annoying part is people saying” bura na mano holi hai” but tell you what since the time I moved to Bangalore I really missed the celebration atleast the good parts and now that I am back to Pune the past 2 holi celebrations in my society made me realise I was really missing it. Life gets very boring without indulging in some festivities

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