Celebrating Holi in the UK

Bristol-Bath HOLI ONE Colour Festival ©Angel Ganev on Flickr, CC BY 2.0

By Lisa Hansson and Sophie Cannon

It's March, and it's time to celebrate Holi!

This ancient Hindu religious celebration – held this year on 23 March – welcomes in the spring, and is also known as the 'festival of colours' or the 'festival of love'. 

It is easy to see why Holi is called the 'festival of colours'! On the day, participants gather to chase each other and throw powder and coloured water on each other, until everyone is covered with beautiful bright colours. 

The UK has a large Hindu community – there are around 800,000 Hindu people in Britain, and around 135 Hindu temples across the country.

There are lots of Holi events taking place throughout the UK over the next few days. Here are just a few examples:

  • In Birmingham, check out the celebrations on 5 March at Cannon Hill Park, or head to nearby Leicester to the Shree Hindu Temple

  • In Newcastle, the big celebrations on 7 March are organised by the NHSF Northumbria Hindu Society in collaboration with Newcastle University’s Hindu and Sikh Society

  • If you are in Manchester, head to Platt Fields park on 8 March for 'Leap into Spring'.

There are lots of Hindu student groups at universities and colleges across the UK, so there will also be many Holi celebrations on campus!

The National Hindu Student Forum (NHSF) is another great way to connect. Check out the NHSF website and Facebook page for more information about the meaning of Holi, plus other Holi celebrations and student events.

And for inspiration, have a look at photos from past Holi celebrations in the UK... We can't wait for this year's festivities to begin!

University of Sussex

Holi celebrations in front of the library at the University of Sussex (Photo ©Tom Harle on Flickr, CC BY 2.0)


International students in Manchester, celebrating Holi in 2014 (Photo ©Mark Bellingham, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

University College London (UCL)

Painting faces at University College London (Photo ©clarence lee on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Painting the town red – or the UCL campus, at least! (Photo ©Chad Nelson on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lancaster University

Lancaster student Jeric, from Malaysia, celebrated Holi with friends from the UK and around the world! Read his story here


Holi Festival of Colour in 2014, celebrated at London's Battersea Power Station  (Photo ©tomas lewis on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Not just paint: The celebrations in London include music, dancing and street performances (Photo ©tomas lewis on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Tired, happy and colourful at the end of the day (Photo ©tomas lewis on Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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