Holi is one of the most colorful Hindu festival celebrated in India. It is a spring festival celebrated with a zeal & enthusiasm. Its undoubtedly the most fun-filled and joyous of Hindu festival. It’s an occasion that brings so much of energy in you. The day is filled with unadulterated joy, happiness, smiles, laughter, dance, music, play and hell lot of bright colors both dry and wet. The dry color is known as gulal and wet color is referred as rang.
In states like West Bengal and Orissa, it is known as Dolyatra / Doul Jatra or Basanta-Utsav which literally means “spring festival”. Rest of the world know it as a “Festival of Colors”. Other than India the festival is also celebrated in countries like Nepal, Pakistan, and countries with large Indic diaspora populations following Hinduism, such as Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, United Kingdom, United States, Mauritius, and Fiji.
In India the most extended Holi celebrations can be seen in Braj region that is in connection with Lord Krishna. The region includes : Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana. At Barsana Holi assumes the name of Lathmaar Holi. Here, women of Barsana give a tough time to men of Nandgaon as they come to play Holi with them. Women drag the unlucky captives, beat them, dress them in a female attire – yet all is in the spirit of Holi.
These places, at the time of festival, are flooded with tourists coming in from all parts of the world just to see and feel what the “festival of colors” is all about. The energy and excitement level of the people can be compared to those in the Tomatina festival of Valencian town of Bunol.
Holi festival has an ancient origin that celebrates the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘bad’. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships. The celebration starts a night before, People gather at home place and ignite bonfire (holy bonfire) known as Holika Dahan. The day is also popularly called ‘Chhoti Holi’. Next day after Holika Dahan is called Dhuleti, when play with colors actually takes place. The day starts by wishing elders in the family. Most of the holi celebration takes place outside home, or else it can turn into a messy affair. People gather outside their houses and play coloring each other. They move from one place to other in groups singing songs and sprinkling colors on everybody that come across. The main slogan of the festival is “Bura na mano holi hai” that translates into “don’t mind, its holi”.
Holi, the festival of colors, is also seen as a festival that brings and binds the society together. It bridges the gap between rich and poor. It strengthens the secular fabric of the country. In recent years the festival has gained a lot of popularity and respect as a festival that blends the true colors of India. Hence non-Hindu communities have also started participating in the celebrations of such an auspicious festivals. Everybody like to be a part of such a colorful and joyous festival. It brings communities closer regardless of religion.