Holi, more commonly called Phagwah, is a jovial yet dramatic Festival of Colours. Originating as a Hindu festival to commemorate the triumph of good over evil, this holiday has become ingrained in the hearts of Guyanese, regardless of religious beliefs. Like so many holidays here in Guyana, Phagwah is a testament to our diverse, yet unified culture.
On the days leading up to this holiday, a number of Hindu religious practices can be observed. If you’re staying in a Hindu community, you will definitely have a chance to witness this amazing experience. From a Holika Dahan, where people gather to perform religious rituals in front of a bonfire, to chowtaal melodies and jati renditions which can be heard all across the country at Hindu temples and homes. The colours, sounds and magnetic energy of this festive day are all distinctly Guyanese. Welcome to Phagwah… Guyanese-style.
Water, Abeer and Sweet treats
Dressed in solid white, you start the day as a blank canvas. Crowds of merrymakers happily toss a vibrant fusion of rainbow-coloured powders and buckets filled with water into the air and onto participants and unsuspecting passersby alike. These powders form the catalyst of the entire celebration which marks the official arrival of spring. It also commemorates the enduring love between Lord Krishna and Radha. The mood of the day is celebratory, upbeat and undeniably bursting with energy.
Delicacies such as gulaab jamoon, gojha, gul-gula, and pholourie are prepared and shared among friends and families of communities. The Providence Stadium, National Park and the Seawall are prime spots to experience Holi celebrations at their best. As the many different colours decorate the roads, waterways and the air, you will feel a sense of camaraderie and happiness reverberate throughout your entire being. Collectively, the food, colours, vibes and cultural traditions bridge the gap between all Guyanese and visitors alike, making everyone feel welcome during the celebrations.
With the live entertainment, dances and specially curated activities present throughout the country, you will have your choice of activities to immerse yourself in. One thing is for certain though — this joyous festivity is one that you absolutely cannot miss. So on your next visit to Guyana, add Holi — celebrated on the day after the full moon in March each year — to your life list. Come tap into your inner child – enjoy the colours, festivity, togetherness and of course, the sweet treats.
Travel Better in Guyana
In Guyana, we recognize we have a responsibility to protect and conserve our spectacular natural and cultural treasures. We’re equally blessed that so many of our visitors want to lend a hand in doing so. To find out what you can do to help, please check out our Visitor Guidelines For Sustainable Travel. We look forward to welcoming you to Guyana.