Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Holi - A festival of colors

 Holi is one of the major festivals in India, celebrated with equal zeal and passion throughout the country. Although, the name and traditions can vary as per different Indian states, but the enthusiasm to celebrate the festival is alike. Usually, this festival falls during the ‘phagun’ month last from March to April. Let’s see how this festival is celebrated in different Indian states: 

Dahi Handi Holi 

Typically, Gujaratis  and Maharastrians  welcome this festival with finger licking food, foot tapping music, and powdered colors. This festival officially marks the beginning of the agricultural season of the ‘Rabi’ crop. On the day of the festival, a bonfire is lited on the prominent places of the town. During the first half of the day people gather around the bonfire, and remain engaged in dancing, singing and other merrymaking activities. 

Usually, this festival falls in parallel to Navratri celebration. In fact, ancient tribes of Gujarat too observe this festival with equal fun and fervor. If you go extreme in Maharastra then, you will see that there is a tradition to hang a pot filled with buttermilk in the main squares of the town. The pot is called as ‘ dahi handi’ in local terms. It is a long cherished tradition here to break the hand by young boys by making a shape of the human pyramid.  The sight is almost same in Gujarat  as well. It is worth exploring the Gujarati Holi celebration from the tourist’s perspective.

Braj ke Lathmar Holi

Utter Pradesh is world famous for ‘Barsane ke holi’. Here a ‘lath mar holi’ is played in the Radha Rani temple. During the celebration, thousands of  women gather  in the temple premises, and  chase men with the stick in order to beat them, men protects themselves with shields. Many foreign tourists fly down here just to witness the holi celebration. Here the celebrations start at least a month before the arrival of the actual festival.

Likewise, if you go to Mathura, it is a birth place of Lord Krishna, a grand holi puja is organized over here. In fact, all the Braj region including Vrindavan, Hathras, Aligarh, Agra is famous for holi specific  special  worship.

Bhang Celebration in Bihar

Bihar is extremely colorful and vibrant Indian state. In a local Bhojpuri language the festival is known as Phaguwa. Here two people light bonfire and do worship with cow dung cake. There is a popular tradition to burn unwanted pieces of woods in the bonfire. ‘Gujihya’ is a holi specific food that is cooked in almost every household. Gujihya is  a special  type of sweet dish that is prepared by Maida and condensed milk. 

In this day people come out from their houses and organized social gatherings. They put colors on each other’s faces , and sweeten their mouths with Gujiya.  There is also a tradition to serve Bhang  to whosoever pays a  visit  to the house. Bhang is a type of alcoholic agent  that intoxicates the body. In fact, many  people serve Bhang in the forms of sweets. However,  be aware before eating any such  dish.

Holi is a festival of colors.  People in India leave no stone unturned in making the festival memorable. First holi of newlyweds is celebrated on a grand scale. It is worth becoming a part of this festival in order to taste the splendor of  the colorful celebration. Try  Exploring India during the month of March to experience an unforgettable India tour.
Happy Holi!