Festival - Holi: Must See India
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Holi

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Holi is a religious festival belonging to the Hindu religion. It is a festival of colours and is primarily celebrated in India, Pakistan, Nepal and in countries with large populations following Hinduism such as Guyana, Malaysia, Suriname, Trinidad, South Africa, Mauritius, United States, Fiji and United Kingdom. The festival is also known as Dolayatra or Basanta Utsav in some Indian states such as Odisha and Paschim Banga.

The festival is celebrated by throwing colour mixed with water or in a powdery form, on people. On the eve of Holi, bonfires are lit symbolizing the escape of young Prahlad from the clutches of Demoness Holika, who was the sister of Hiranyakashipu. Holika took Prahlad near the fire to burn him but was burnt instead and Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu came out unscathed due to his true devotion.

The festival is celebrated during the end of winter season on the last full moon day of the Phalguna month, which usually falls in the end of March or February. Holi is celebrated for 16 days in Mathura – the place where Lord Krishna was born, in the memory of Radha’s love for Krishna. According to legends Krishna complained to his mother regarding the contrast in his and Radha’s fair skin. Krishna’s mother applied colour on Radha’s face. Hence the celebrations take place to glorify the love between Radha and Krishna.

Traditions


Holi is celebrated in different ways in the different states and cities in India. The famous Lath Mar Holi is played at the Radha Rani temple in Barsana, Uttar Pradesh. In this part of the country men sing provocative songs in order to woo the women and the women go offensive instead and beat them with sticks, while singing Holi songs. The cities of Vrindavan and Gorakhpur also have their own unique ways of celebrating the festival.

In the district of Kumaon in Uttarakhand the festival is celebrated as Khari Holi and Baithki Holi. The nature of festival here is basically musical and have a variety of songs sung everywhere in the district.

Bihar is famous for its celebration of Holika Dahan. On the eve of Holi, people assemble near the bonfire and the eldest member initiates the light. Holi is celebrated with much aplomb the next day.

Dola Purnima is celebrated in Odisha and Paschim Banga. Many types of sweets and savouries are prepared. Lord Krishna and Radha are made to sit on a palanquin and devotional songs are sung.

Tourist Essential


The festival is celebrated in different moods and rituals throughout the country. However, playing with colours forms an essential part of the festival.

The spring season brings about diseases like viral fever cold and cough. The colours used in Holi are generally made of Bilva, Haldi, Neem and Kukum which prevent diseases from infecting you.

A drink called Thandai is consumed during this festival and is sometimes mixed with Bhang, which is an intoxicant. This is a very popular drink during the festival.

Photos

by Kapil
by Kapil
 

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