The Holi Festival is just around the corner. It will be observed on March 8 this year. The mention of Holi brings a psychedelic sensation to all.
The festival signifies the victory of good over evil. Holi is another auspicious occasion to embrace new beginnings, meet and make friends, catch up with family, and repair a broken relationship.
The celebration starts with Holika Dahan, a day before the actual festival of colors begins. People accumulate tree trunks, branches, and dry leaves on the corner of a street or on an open field. Then, in the evening, they set fire to it, pretending the demoness Holika is on fire to usher in auspiciousness by removing all evil.
Why Holi Festival Is Celebrated With Colors?
There are many sagas and fables akin to the Holi festival. But the most popular anecdote is about Lord Krishna and Radha’s love story. According to mythology, Sri Krishna was born with a blue complexion, but Radha was very fair. So, he had an inferiority complex, and he feared that Radha might not talk to him because of his dark complexion.
But Krishna’s mother advised him to paint Radha so that they would not look different. Krishna heeded his mother’s advice and painted Radha’s face. Then they painted each other’s faces, and they got united after that. Since then, the Holi festival has been known as the festival of love and has been celebrated with colors.
Although the addition of water to the color during Holi came later. Initially, people used to play Holi with pink gulal, but many colors have come onto the market in recent years.
Different Types Of Holi Festivals
Not only in India but also all over the world, people celebrate Holi. But in India, every state, has its own way of celebrating Holi Festival, such as Lathmar Holi (UP), Hola Mohalla (Punjab), Phoolan ki Holi (Vrindavan), Vasant Utsav or Dol (West Bengal), Phalgun Purnima (Bihar), Shigmo (Goa), Manjal Kuli (Kerala), Yosang (Manipur), etc.
So, if you are already excited to celebrate the Festival of Spring, making plans to drink and dance with friends to celebrate this auspicious festival, you should explore more about the several types of Holi celebrations in our country.
Lathmar Holi, UP
Lathmar Holi is mainly celebrated in Barsana and Nandgaon, including Mathura and Vrindavan. Mythology says Holi was first celebrated in Barsana with Lord Krishna. It says that on the eve of Holi, Lord Krishna visited Barsana, the village of his love interest, Radha. But he teased Radha with her “Sakhis” (female friends). So, the ladies of the same village drove him out of the village.
In memory of that incident, women of that region greet men by hurling lathis or sticks at them, but not to hurt them, as it is part of playing Holi. Men also come prepared. They try to protect themselves, but those who fail to do that are captured by the group of ladies, who dress them in female apparel. They then force him to dance.
Phoolan Ki Holi, Vrindavan
Phoolan ki Holi is celebrated at the Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan on the Ekadashi day of the Holi week. It is basically playing Holi not with colored powder or water but with the petals of fresh flowers. Vrindavan is the only place in the world where Holi is celebrated in such a unique way. The exquisiteness of the ambiance and the scenic vista will take you to a different world. The temple hosts a week-long celebration of Holi.
Vasant Utsav, West Bengal
Since it is marked as the birthday of Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya Dev, the Holi festival has another significance in West Bengal. The land of poets and scholars celebrates the festival in its own way. On this special day, a whole-day program occurs at both campuses of Viswa Bharati University in Shantiniketan and Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata. Students and teachers of both universities wear yellow dresses to perform dance, drama, and songs written by Rabindranath Tagore for the Holi and Phagun festivals.
Mayapur and Nabadwip, the native places of Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev, are famous for celebrating Dolyatra. In Mayapur, Iscon devotees take the idols of Lord Krishna and Radha down the street. People spray water and throw gulal to add fun to this procession. So, in Bengal, the essence of Holi is fine-tuned. Bengal can be a moderate way to celebrate Holi if you want to experience a different kind of Holi festival.
Goa is always vibrant when it comes to celebration. The Holi festival is celebrated here in a little different way. The festival of spring is called Shigmo by the locals and lasts fourteen days. It is basically a colorful harvest festival. Where people gather on the street in the form of a procession, apart from the colors, local people take part in traditional folk songs and group dances like ‘Ghode Morni’, ‘Fugdi’, etc. with Dhol and Tasa on the street. Since Goa is a coastal state and mainly fishermen live there, farmers and fishermen are major participants in this festival. Tourists can also join them.
Manjal Kuli, Kerala
Kerala’s version of Holi, known as Ukuli or Manjal Kuli, is celebrated in the state only. Although the festival is not particularly well-liked throughout the state, the Konkani and Kudumbi communities’ traditional celebration shouldn’t be missed.
Manjal Kuli is celebrated at Gosripuram Temple in Tirumala by the Konkani communities, like the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins and Kudumbi communities.
Made for Gen-Z, Pushkar
It would be so unfair to discuss Holi without mentioning Pushkar, one of the most well-known locations for the Holi festival.
People from all over the nation travel to Pushkar, one of the oldest towns in the country, to satisfy their spiritual appetite. However, the Holi festival there is much more than just spiritual.
People from India and other countries travel specifically to Pushkar for Holi in order to experience the wild yet incredibly aesthetic festival. 3 hours drive from Delhi, the Holi festival in Pushkar is worth a visit.
Besides that, you may explore Jaipur or Udaipur to enjoy a royal Holi, celebrated by the royal families of Rajputana. Now, which one you will choose to rejuvenate yourself is entirely up to you. So, pick any of them, pack your bags, and head out.
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