Holi, the festival of colors, is one of the most joyous festivals of india and is celebrated across the country in the month of Phalgun (February-March) also called Phagwah. The occasion marks the ushering in of spring season in India and is also a celebration of the harvest season.
As Indians everywhere gear up to celebrate this festival, Journeymart.com brings you some unique ways that India celebrates Holi.
Goa - Shimgo
The fun filled and enthusiastic people of Goa call Holi by the name of Shimgo. Here too, people play with bright colours to welcome the arrival of spring and the harvest season. A huge procession is carried out in Panjim with performances of troupes and cultural drama depicting mythological and religious stories. People from every cast and religion participate in this festival with great enthusiasm.
Haryana - Dulandi Holi
In the state of Haryana, Holi is all about fun anf frolic and the Bhabhi’s, the brothers wife, get the upper hand with their Devars to look out for them. The Bhabhi's on this day get a social sanction on Holi to beat their devars and make them pay the price of all the pranks they played on them for the entire year. Bhabhi's roll up their saris in the form of a rope in a mock rage, and give a good run to their Devars. In the evening, Devars are supposed to bring sweets for their dear bhabhi. Besides this, the tradition of breaking the pot of buttermilk hung high in the street by forming a human pyramid is still enjoyed today.
Maharashtra - Rangpanchami
People of Maharashtra commonly know this festival of colours by the name of Rangpanchami as the play of colours is reserved for the fifth day here. The festival is very popular amongst the locals and they celebrate it in with great gusto. Singing, Dancing and merry-making is seen in most parts. People also utter sound through their mouths in a peculiar fashion by striking their mouths with the back of their hands.
Punjab - Hola Mohalla
Holi gets this joyful name in the state of Punjab. Hola Mohalla is actually an annual fair that is organised in a large scale at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab on the day following the festival of Holi. The practise of holding a fair of this kind was initiated by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru. Purpose of the fair was to physically strengthen the Sikh community by holding military exercises and mock battles.
The festival is celebrated for three consecutive days, in which members of Sikh community display their physical strength by performing dare-devil acts like bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses, Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging etc. This is followed by music and poetry competition to lighten the charged up atmosphere.
A number of durbars are also held where Sri Guru Granth Sahib is present and kirtan and religious lectures take place.. On the last day a long procession, led by Panj Pyaras, starts from Takth Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five Sikh religious seats, and passes through various important gurdwaras like Qila Anandgarh, Lohgarh Sahib, Mata Jitoji and terminates at the Takth.
For people visiting Anandpur Sahib, langars (voluntary community kitchens) are organized by the local people as a part of sewa (community service). Raw materials like wheat flour, rice, vegetables, milk and sugar is provided by the villagers living nearby. Women volunteer to cook and others take part in cleaning the utensils. Traditional cuisine is served to the pilgrims who eat while sitting in rows on the ground.
West Bengal - Dol Purnima
In West Bengal, students dress up in saffron-coloured clothes and wear garlands of fragrant flowers. They sing and dance to the accompaniment of musical instruments presenting an enchanting view to the onlookers and a memory to cherish for years.
The festival is also known as 'Dol Jatra', 'Dol Purnima' or the 'Swing Festival'. The festival is celebrated by placing the idols of Krishna and Radha on a picturesquely decorated palanquin which is then taken round the main streets of the city. The devotees take turns to swing them while women dance around the swing and sing devotional songs. Throughout the procession men keep spraying coloured water and colour powder, 'abeer' at them.
The Holi Experience – Journeymart.com explores the different