Holi the most celebrated and admired festival of India which is celebrated in almost every corner of the country. The festival indicates the end of winter & arrival of spring. This festival is very widely known as the “Color Festival” or “Festival of Love”. It is called the “festival of love,” because people get together on this day ignoring all resentments and all sorts of bad feelings against each other. Another reason for celebrating this festival is has thanksgiving for a successful harvest.
The fascinating festival as per Gregorian calendar arrives in the month of March, beginning in the evening of Purnima in the month of Falgun. On the first day in the evening, Holika Dahan is celebrated by lighting up the bonfire which indicates the victory of good over evil. and on the second day, Holi is celebrated. On this day spring is warmly welcomed by all of India and Holi celebrated. In different parts of the country, this festival is called in different names..
The enthusiasm of this festival is amazing that it brings loads of positivity in once’s life. People play Holi with their friends and families with colors and show love and respect to their close friends.
The ritual is called “Holika Dahan” and praying for their internal tragedy to be the destruction of the way Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was murdered in the flames. Holika Dahan Holi begins on the night of the day before Holi, the so-called Chhoti, or Small Holi, where all people gather. Ash leftover out of this bonfire is also treated as sacred and it is applied to people’s foreheads. People think the ash defends them from evil forces.
Playing with Colors
The next morning the people are very excited to celebrate Rangwali Holi. On this day you can see people spread and wet eat other with colors. People get the crazy and whacky whole day. Gulal and Abeer coloring vividly fill the air and people turn over in colorful water by throwing at each other. Children enjoy spraying colors on one another and hitting passersby with water balloons and their pichkaris. Each and everybody plays a fair game whether a friend or stranger, a rich or a poor man or woman, a child and an elder. Tolis, which means a group of women or senior citizens carry drums with a singing-dancing moving around colonies in exchange for colors and greetings.
On this day there is a tradition of drinking Bhang to further strengthen Holi’s spirit. Seeing the otherwise drunk people make a fool of themselves in full public show is so much fun. Nonetheless, some are taking bhang in abundance and spoiling the spirit. Therefore, care should be taken when bhang delicacies are consumed.
The legends of the colorful festival Holi
The festival’s roots are linked to many fascinating backgrounds as one travels from north to south and east to west through various states. This festival is considered to be one of the ancient festivals of India. The festival of Holi mythology plays an extremely important role. ‘ Holika Dahan ‘ and Radha-Krishan’s legend are the most popular tales about Holi’s roots.
Story of Holika Dahan
the king of demons Asura was Hiranyakaship had obtained the boon of the life from Lord Brahma had and he received a boon that gave him five special powers: no man or animal could be killed, either on and off, no day or night, no other Astra (projectile arms) or any Shastra (handheld weapons). Hiranyakashipu was greedy, claimed that he was God, asked everybody to follow him alone.
Yet Prahlad’s son Hiranyakaship was Lord Vishnu’s devotee. In spite of putting it in almost disastrous circumstances, he could not break his son’s convictions, so he forced young Prahlad to sit on a pyre in the lap of his sister Holika. Holika was provided a boon with a shawl to protect her from being hurt by the flames. Prahlad without any hesitation followed his father’s instruction in the belief that God would save him. With rising fire, the audience was shocked. As the fire rumbled, the garment fled from Holika and Holika got burned and Prahlad was survived.
The bonfire of Holika marks the symbolic triumph of good over bad.
Story of Radha and Krishan
The Radha and Krishna myths are closely connected to this Holi color custom. Young Krishna, with dark skin, was jealous of the extremely fair skin of his beloved Radha. He added color to Radha’s face in a filthy mood. According to this ancient story, lovers colored their beloved long ago as an expression of love. No other place Holi matches the kind of Holi played in Mathura, Barsana, and Vrindavan.
Rituals of Holi in Different State
The places which are associated with the birthplace of Lord Krishna as in Vrindavan, Nandgaon, and Mathura the Holi played here are like nowhere celebrated with such enthusiasm. The Holi Festival is celebrated in Diverse names by the people of different states:
Barsana (Lathmaar Holi):
The name of Holi in Barsana is called has Lathmaar Holi. Barsana’s women give men from Nandgaon a hard time here by greeting them with a stick if they come to apply colors to them. men try to escape the spirited women in the best possible way. Men should not fight back on this day. The unlucky are physically driven away and the women thrash well. In addition, they are made to wear a woman’s attire and dance.
Haryana (Dulandi Holi)
Haryana women, in particular, the bhabhi — the woman of brothers too get an authority to beat their Devars — the younger siblings of husbands and take sweet of all the mischiefs they have been involved for the whole year. The Dulandi Holi is this revolting festival. There is also a tradition of braking a buttermilk pot which is hanged high in the street and a group of people tries to break it and get rewards for it. The Devars will offer their dear bhabhi sweets in the evening.
Maharashtra (Rang Panchami) & Gujarat
In the states of Gujarat & Maharastra, the Holi is celebrated with much more fun. The tradition here is so wonderful with involves not only playing of colors but also a practice of breaking pot. On the streets, the buttermilk is hanged high. Men build an enormous human pyramid and one with his head breaks the pot on top. At the same time, women try to pour water on them so that they should not reach the pot. This tradition has its root base from Lord Krishna’s mischievous nature, who liked butter so much that he used to steal butter from every house of the village. Butter was hanged high by the women so that little Krishna should no reach.
Panjab (Hola Mohalla)
To the people of Punjab, Holi calls to the show of their physical strength by executing dare-devil acts such as standing upright on two running horses, bareback horse-riding, tent pegging, Gatka (mock encounters), etc. and military skill as they assemble at Anandpur Sahib a day after Holi to celebrate Hola Mohalla. The practice was initiated by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth and last guru of Sikh religion and is being carried forward religiously.
So there are many more holi traditions that are followed in the different states in the most unique way, few are explained above.
Holi is that festival that creates a brotherhood spirit and brings people together and that’s what matters most.