Holi is most popular in Northern India. In West Bengal and Orissa the celebration is also known as 'Dol Jatra'. It is also called 'Basanta Utsav' as it is celebrated during the onset of spring.
Holi The Festival of Color
- Holi is a celebration of color and fun. People are generally in an ecstatic frame of mind and delve into wild party mood.
- Consumptions of sweet and bhang are integral parts of the celebration.
- It is considered okay to get intoxicated consuming bhang during Holi.
- Some of the popular sweetmeats prepared during Holi are gujiya, mathri, pera, papri etc.
- After the wild celebrations in the day people normally visit friends and family in the evening and celebrate with sweets and foods.
- Special meals are prepared in many houses. People also send Holi SMSs and greetings to their loved ones.
Holi Celebration: Burning The Evil
- On the eve of Holi a bonfire is lit, known as Holika Dahan, which is said to burn all the impurities and evil within.
- The event is also known as Choti Holi. People make offerings and prayers and circle the holy fire. Down in South India the same celebration is known as 'Kama Dahanam'.
- Celebration of Holi marks the ending of winter and beginning of spring. It normally falls on February or March depending upon the Hindu lunisolar calendar.
- In most parts of the country it is normally celebrated for two days beginning with the burning of Holika.
Holi Celebration in Different Parts of India
- The Holi celebration is most popular in Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana. During the festival these places are filled with tourists from all over the world.
- However, the celebration isn't restricted only to these cities. The festival has different flavors in other parts of the country as well.
- North India is known for its vibrant Holi celebration. During this time Uttar Pradesh becomes the hot spot as the celebration here continues for a week.
- Pujas are offered in all the major temples of Krishna and Radha. On the day of Holi people throw colors at each other and shout 'holi hai'. Roads and building are sprayed with colored water.
- According to legends Radha was from the village named Barsana and Krishna used to come from Nandagaon to play Holi with her.
- The tradition is still followed and boys from Nandagaon visit Barsana to play color with the women of the village.
- In Haryana a special feature of Holi celebration is the breaking a pot of buttermilk which is hung high. Young boys will make a human pyramid to reach to the pot and womenfolk will throw colored water at them trying to deter them from reaching it.
- Bengal is known for its suave yet fun filled Holi celebration.
- Here the festival is popularly known as Dol Jatra. People take out processions and throw colored powder or Abeer on each other. Often these processions are accompanied by singers and dancers.
- The most famous celebration however takes places in Shantiniketan, Birbhum.
- Here the celebration has a rich heritage as it was introduced by Nobel laureate and celebrated Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Tourists, from within the country and abroad, visit the university at Shantiniketan during this time to witness the colorful celebration of Basanta Utsav.
- In Maharastra and Gujarat young men take part in reliving the life of Lord Krishna. People get out in the street and get drenched in colors.
- They shout mock alerts to people to take care of their milk and butter at home. Young men form human pyramids to break the pot of buttermilk that is hung high. The successful candidate is given the title of Holi king of the locality.
- Holi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and sweetmeats are distributed among friends, family, and neighbors.
North East India
- As a result of the strong influence of Vaishnavism, Holi is a popular celebration in Manipur. Here it is celebrated for six days starting with the full moon day of Phalguna.
- The extended celebration is because of the amalgamation of traditional Yaosang festival with Holi in 18th century when Vaishnavism became the main way of life for people here.
- People celebrate with color and classical Manipuri dance is performed with the beat of drum. Different moments of Lord Krishna's life are enacted through the dance performances.
- Devotees visit the temple of Lord Krishna 3 kms outside the state capital, Imphal and offer oblation and prayers.