Holi the spring festival of India is the brightest of all other Hindu festivals celebrated in India. Holi is mainly a north-Indian festival, however it is now been celebrated in other communities as well. Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which is either observed in February end or March beginning or some times late in March. The festival is also celebrated to mark the triumph of Good over Evil. It is seen as an occasion that promotes brotherhood and friendliness amongst the people of society. It is one festival where communities come together and make marry time all around. It bridges the gap between rich and poor, on this occasion each one is colored same.
It unites people of a country and displays true colors of India. People wish everyone, know or unknown, who come across on this festival. It is a two day festival in most of the parts of holi. The day before Holi is called Holika Dahan, which marks the win of good over evil.
The legend associated with Holika Dahan is the story of Prahlad, Hiranyakashyap and Holika. The legend says that Hiranyakashyap was a devil and powerful king who considered himself God and wanted everybody to worship him. The irony began when his own son Prahlad began to worship God Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap being a devil, wanted to get rid of his son. He then asked his sister Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to enter fire unscathed. However, Prahlad was saved because of his selfless devotion towards lord Vishnu. Holika could not survive the fire because of her sin. The tradition of Holika Dahan comes from this legend.
Holi – Playing with Colors
The next day morning is full of activities, music, dance, drinks (bhang), fun, and most importantly the bright colors. The day is called ‘Dhuleti’. This is the main attraction of the festival ‘COLORS’. As such there is no tradition associated for this day, no prayer, no puja, nothing…… just pure excitement and enjoyment. The tradition of playing colours is particularly rampant in north India and even in that region, there can be no comparison to the Holi of Mathura and Vrindavan. In Maharashtra and Gujarat too Holi is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and fun.
People take extreme delight in spraying color water on each other with pichkaris or pouring buckets and buckets of it. Singing Bollywood Holi numbers and dancing on the beat of dholak is also a part of the tradition. Amidst all this activity people relish gujiya, mathri, malpuas and other traditional Holi delicacies with great joy.
Holi Drink – Bhang
A drink, especially thandai laced with bhang is also an intrinsic part of the Holi festivity. Bhang helps to further enhance the spirit of the occasion but if taken in excess it might dampen it also. So caution should be taken while consuming it.
Extended Holi Celebrations
The Braj region of India observes the longest holi celebrations. The celebration here lasts hhere from one week to a month. At this time it becomes a hot spot for tourists coming to India from all parts of the world. The region is flooded with tourists. The braj region includes places associated with Lord Krishna and Radha. These are Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana.
Celebration worth a mention here takes place at Barsana. Barsana is the birth place of Radha which is just 42 kms away from Mathura. Here, males from Nandgaon, the land of Krishna come to play Holi with the girls of Barsana and hope of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple. But, instead of colors they are greeted with sticks by the gopis. Hence, the Holi get its new name here the ‘Lathmaar Holi’.