Holi is a festival celebrated at the approach of spring equinox. A two-day occasion, popularly known as festival of colours. It is celebrated all over the world with great joy and fun. As it marks the triumph of good over the evil, people participate in it with great zeal. It is known as Phakuwa or Phagwah in Assamese, Dola Jatra in Odisha and Basanto Utsav in West Bengal.
It is celebrated mostly in India and Nepal with colours, foods, sweets, hugs, joys, greetings, and togetherness. Holi is divided into two days consisting of Holika Dahan and Rangwali Holi. Well, Holika Dahan celebrations start just a night before when people gather near a bonfire and perform certain symbolic rituals by offering raw coconut and corn to the fire. The very next morning people gather in open spaces and celebrate Rangwali Holi. It’s a squawk affair where people meet each other and greet with handful of colour powder (also known as gulaal or abeer) and sprinkle coloured water at each other. Elders also take on to having thandai. The festival celebrations starts two to three days prior to the actual date. Specially, in schools, colleges and in some work places. Even in colonies kids start throwing balloons two days before the actual event such is the excitement of this festival.
When is Holi?
As it is in sync with the positioning of the moon, the date of the celebration varies each year. Therefore, this year will be celebrated on 13th March and Holika Dahan will be held in the night of 12th March.
Why is it Celebrated?
Braj, a region in India, where lord Krishna is believed to have grown up, holds back its history. From childhood lord Krishna had a characteristic dark blue skin colour as he was poisoned by a female demon. As a kid, it worried lord Krishna of his acceptance by Radha (his love) and other girls because of his skin colour. So, tired of his queries and distress, lord Krishna’s mother suggested him to colour his face in whichever colour he wanted and then approach Radha. As a result Radha and Krishna became a couple. And hence, the aura continues.
Hence, It wouldn’t be wrong to call it a ‘festival of love’ either!
Holi is mentioned as a festival in Puranas, Dasakumara Charitra and by poet Kalidasa in the 4th century reign of Chandragupta.
Mathura, a place in the Braj region where lord Krishna was born along with Vrindavan celebrates this day with special puja and worship of lord Krishna. Here the celebration continues for 16 days.
In Uttrakhand, holi includes a musical affair where people sing songs related to the festival. The songs have the touch of melody, fun and spiritualism.
In West Bengal, it is celebrated by placing the icons of Radha and Krishna on a decorated palanquin, and is being taken round the city for people to worship.
In Karnataka, this festival is celebrated with a unique folk dance called ‘Bedara Vesha’. It is performed during the nights that too five days prior to the arrival of the occasion.
In Gujarat, holi is celebrated in coastal city named Dwarka, in Dwarkadheesh temple.
While kids wait for this festival to play with colours, most elders are just keen to getting their glasses of Thandai. Thandai is an Indian drink made with almonds, fennel seeds, rose petals, pepper, vetiver seeds, cardamom, saffron, milk and sugar. And yes, to add to it some freshly crushed BHANG (Hemp). The drink gets people high, and the effects can vary depending on the quantity of BHANG you consume. The process of making BHANG is a long and tedious one, but it is worth the wait. If you know what we mean. Pakoras (Fried vegetables and bread in gram flour) are snacked along this mouthwatering drink.
LATH MAR HOLI
As already mentioned the story behind this festival, in Mathura there is a tradition to play Holi with Sticks.
Though this is played before the actual holi, I’ve personally seen people playing after holi in some pockets of the country. In this basically the men from Nandgaon visit the town of Barsana every year, only to be greeted by sticks (aka lathis) of the women there. This is in sync with the story of Lord Krishna being chased away by women in Radha’s village.
To moisturise your body before playing as powdered colours can be harmful as well as allergic. For easy removal of the colours do apply oil in the skin.
Famous Must Dance to Holi Songs
Request to All:
Kindly don’t get creepy and start applying colours or throwing balloons on strangers who don’t intent to play. Respect their choice.
Do not even try to apply the harmful or even the natural colours to animals, your few minutes of fun can actually ruin that animal’s entire life.
Furthermore do Avoid harmful colours.
And above all stay safe and enjoy the festival with love and affection. Because its colours not chaos.
Bura Na Maano, Holi Hai. Happy Holi.
Article Contributor: Sanjeevani Sinha