The month of march is eagerly awaited by every Indian and the reason is the festival of Holi! This year this festival was celebrated on 8th to 9th March. Let me tell you more about this incredible festival.
होली (Holi), the festival of color is one of the most important festival of India. In fact, it is the second biggest festival for us after Diwali. In Diwali, where the colorful lights play a major attraction, colors are main theme of Holi festival. This festival is celebrated all across India irrespective caste and religion. People living outside India do celebrate this festival with much passion, and let go all prejudice, creed and discrimination. This festival is celebrated from 3 days to 16 days depending on region.
You could see Indians on every street across India being together and celebrating Holi with powder and water based colors. For any stranger, the whole sight could be chaotic as well as incredible at first but for us, it’s this spirit of this festival which bring people together in very passionate way.
There are two main days of this festival comes usually on the last full moon day in the month of फागुन (Phaguna) of Hindu calender (February/March). On the first day’s night, a bonfire is lite which is called होलिका देहन (Holika Dehan) which is followed by दुलेंडी (Duleandi) on which people through celebrate with perfumed colored powder and water. Water and grease based colors are usually also used. People including children throwing water balloon which are filled with colored water on each other. Children could also be seen with water guns spraying colored water to any stranger. It could be difficult to pass street without being attacked by a water balloon or water guns. All is fair during the festival time and children could get away the wrath as they proclaim with their defiant tone, बुरा ना मानो, होली है! (Bura na mano holi hai! – Don’t mind, it’s Holi!) to the victim. The whole atmosphere becomes jubilant during the festival period.
This festival brings people together. In general, people would go to open to celebrate Holi. They will rub colored powder on each others forehead or face and then hug each other, irrespective of being friend or foe. People may go to their neighbors or relatives homes to distribute मिठाई (Mithai – traditional sweet). In many region, there is a tradition of drinking a traditional drink which is called भाँग (Bhang) and made of Cannabis (which is legal in India under government controlled supply). The tradition of drinking Bhang is around 3000 years old and started by Lord Shiva, one of Hindu trinity. Various traditional foods and sweets are being prepared at home on this festival.
Holi could be celebrated in different ways depending on region. Lathmar Holi is a famous tradition of Holi festival which is celebrated in North India.
According to Hindu mythology, there are many legends attached to this festival. According to one legend, Holi is celebrated in spring in commemoration of the divine love of Radha for Krishna. Legend also says that Lord Krishna which is also famous with another name कहणा (Kahna) who used to go along with his friends to Radha’s village to play Holi with her and her friends गोपियाँ (Gopiyan).