How to Celebrate Holi Fest the Vegan Way

How to Celebrate Holi Fest the Vegan Way

The festival of colors – also known as the Hindu festival of Holi – is celebrated by people from around the world. The upbeat occasion is a celebration of spring, fertility, color, and love. Its origins date back centuries, with mentions of the Holi festival first appearing in ancient Hindu mythology.

One of the most popular stories about the origins of the festival is the legend of Holika and Prahlad.

According to, legend has it that there was once a demon king of the Earth named Hiranyakashyap who wanted everybody to worship only him and no one else. His son, Prahlad, however, refused to worship him, instead becoming a devotee of Lord Naarayana.

Hiranyakashyap responded by trying to kill his son in a fire. “[Hiranyakashyap] asked his sister, Holika, to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. For Hiranyakashyap knew that Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed,” notes

It continues, “treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire.” However, Holika did not realize that the boon only protected her if she entered the fire by herself, and was burnt to ashes. Prahlad, on the other hand, was not harmed by the fire – protected by his chants of Lord Naarayana.

“Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika,” says “And is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.”

How is Holi Fest Celebrated?

Festival of Color

Holi is all about being as colorful and as upbeat as possible. Ahead of the festival, people often light bonfires to symbolize the burning of Holika. After this, many Hindus celebrate together out on the streets.

People paint their faces, sing, and dance, as well as throw paint at each other in four symbolic colors: red, blue, green, and yellow. According to the Evening Standard, “red refects love and fertility, blue symbolizes determination, green represents life and happiness whilst yellow signifies knowledge.”

Some people throw powder on animals, which according to Meri News, can cause them unnecessary pain if it gets into their eyes. There are also environmental issues with some Holi powders, leading some organizations to call for the use of homemade, dry natural Holi powders to be used for a cruelty-free, eco-friendly celebration.

3 Vegan Eco-Friendly Holi Powder Packs

1. Dried Flower Powder by India Meets India

Natural Holi Powder | image/India Meets India

According to India Meets India, these vegetable and dried flower powders are eco-friendly, natural, and 100 percent homemade. They cause no harm to any part of the body and are even safe for consumption. What’s more, the production of the paint helps members of the community.

It notes, “the colors are made by hand grounding dried flowers collected from local temples and adding natural vegetable colors. They are hand-grounded by underprivileged communities like disadvantage women groups, adults with partial intellectual disability.”

Buy it here.

2. Non-Toxic Gulal by Pure Herbal

Non-Toxic Holi Powder | image/Pure Herbal

These Holi powders – available in yellow, pink, green, mustard, and red – are 100 percent herbal, according to Pure Herbal. They are also non-toxic, anti-allergenic, skin-friendly, and naturally scented – they don’t even require water. “Your skin is precious, so is water,” says Pure Herbal. “Colors are nature’s way of expressing love. Herbal Holi Gulal is a unique set of colors inspired from nature endowed colors.”

It continues, “Made only from the naturally procured ingredients. [This is] a carefully put-together collection to enhance the excitement of a celebration called Holi.”

Buy it here.

3. Organic Holi Colour by Eco Hindu

Organic Holi Powder | image/Eco Hindu

Made with plant extract, Eco Hindu’s organic Holi powder is available in seven different colors. Like other natural Holi powders, the dry paint – which is safe for the skin – is made with dried flowers and vegetables.

Buy it here.

7 Vegan Holi Festival Recipes

A festival isn’t complete without lots of delicious food. If you don’t fancy throwing powder, mark the occasion by hosting a cruelty-free banquet filled with some of these super tasty vegan Indian snacks. Here are seven plant-based recipes to make for family and friends during this year’s Holi festival.

1. Onion Bhajis by A Saucy Kitchen

Onion Bhajis | image/A Saucy Kitchen

Onion Bhajis are a traditional Indian snack loved the world over. The fried Indian starter dish, which hails from the southern state of Karnataka, is quick and easy to make, simply consisting of onions, a variety of spices, and, in this case, chickpea flour.

According to A Saucy Kitchen, this recipe works best with a spiralizer – although it’s not a requirement. It notes, “enjoy as a snack or starter – these onion bhajis won’t disappoint! Just be warned that they are seriously addictive.”

Get the recipe here.

2. Maida Papdi by Vegan Richa

Maida Papdi | image/Vegan Richa

Maida Papdi, aka spiced cumin crackers, can be baked or fried and served alongside any vegan chutney you fancy. Vegan Richa notes, “These Maida Papdi would be made in bulk for snacking around the festival season. Mom would make them at home.” They added, “Seasoned with just cumin or carom seeds and black pepper, these crackers were an addictive snack. You can bake them as I do or fry them.”

Get the recipe here.

3. Almond Milk Thandai by Aaichi Savali

Almond Milk Thandai | image/Aaichi Savali

According to Aichi Savali, Thandai is a must-drink around the time of the festival of Holi. Made with dry fruits and spices, the drink is cool and refreshing. “Once you get a taste, you’ll want more of this sweet, nutty drink,” notes the recipe blogger. They also note that Thandai has health benefits, helping people to feel energized under the hot Indian sun.

Get the recipe here.

4. Vegan Gujias by Steemit

Gujia | image/Steemit

Gujiya, a form of sweet dumpling, is another Holi festival staple. It’s traditionally stuffed with dried fruits and dairy-based khoya and then fried in animal fats. However, this recipe for the traditional sweet treat by Steemit leaves out the khoya and fries the dumplings in vegetable oil instead.

Get the recipe here.

5. Jalebi by the Flaming Vegan

Jalebi | image/The Flaming Vegan

Jalebi – a sweet snack made with sugar syrup – is enjoyed by many across India during festival seasons. According to the Flaming Vegan, although the dish initially looks complicated, it’s actually super simple to put together. It notes, “you just need a few ingredients and you can prepare this delicious recipe at home.”

Get the recipe here.

6. Thandai Phirni by Vegan Richa

Thandai Phirni | image/Vegan Richa

Thandai Phirni, also known as spiced rice flour pudding, is a spin on the traditional Thandai drink. Vegan Richa notes, “I use the [Thandai] blend to add the flavor to this rice flour pudding called phirni. Phirni is often flavored with just saffron or cardamom and it is a simple rice pudding. It is creamy, custard like, melt in the mouth lightly sweet, lightly flavored.” You could even add dried rose petals to make it look pretty, or garnish with chia seeds, nuts, or even coconut.

Get the recipe here.

7. Besan Halwa by Vegan Richa

Besan Halwa | image/Vegan Richa

Besan Halwa is a fudgy Indian dessert sure to please your sweet-toothed guests during your Holi festival celebration. This recipe by Vegan Richa uses chickpea flour to make a thick custard “that cools to a halwa state.” According to the blogger, “the whole cardamom seeds in the halwa make this one delectable spoon fudge. Make this with wheat, millet or amaranth, lentil flours for variation.”

Get the recipe here.