Health and wellbeing

City of Sydney employees share their colourful tales from Hindu festival of Holi

One of the most colourful, vibrant and fun-filled festivals from India.

Param and her family

Holi is best known for the colourful powders, dyes and coloured water thrown at revellers, leaving people coated in a rainbow of colour. It’s seen as a fun and positive celebration that everyone can get behind.

Paramjit Matharu, web developer, and Nikita Verma, workforce advisor, tell us how they celebrate and what the festival means to them.

How do you celebrate the Festival of Holi?

Paramjit: Holi is a time for joy, unity and celebration that announces the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil – it's also known as the ‘Festival of Colours’!

People of all ages and backgrounds come together to celebrate. We play with colour – throw coloured water balloons and colourful powder at each other – dance and sing, and share sweets.

We eat traditional Holi foods like gujiya, dahi bhalla, puran poli and drink thandai.

Nikita: It’s a Hindu festival that celebrates spring, love, and new life – it’s a time for fun! It's a colourful festival, with dancing, singing and throwing of powdered paint and coloured water.

Food is an integral part of every festival in India. We enjoy eating gujiya, dahi bhalla, ladoo, lassi and pakore as part of celebrations.

Colourful powder and gujiya – a popular sweet eaten on Holi
Colourful powder and gujiya – a popular sweet eaten on Holi

Is this different to how you would celebrate in India?

Paramjit: There’s not much difference, only here it’s celebrated in showgrounds, community halls or other venues whereas in India it’s celebrated openly on streets and public spaces. But I feel the essence of the festival remains the same.

Nikita: The scale of the celebration is different. As it’s a public holiday in India, the festivity starts early in the morning and continues until late afternoon or evening.

What does the festival mean to you?

Paramjit: Holi is an important part of India's cultural heritage. Celebrating Holi is a joyful and vibrant experience. I see happiness, positive energy, love, the strengthening of relationships and enthusiasm. It’s a time to forgive and forget.

Nikita: Holi is very special to me as it teaches us the beauty of equality. On this day, people forget about caste, religion and status. Holi brings us closer to our loved ones. We spend time with our family and friends with sweets, happiness and colour.

Paramjit and her family celebrating Holi
Paramjit and her family celebrating Holi

Published 25 March 2024