As the festival of colours is near, there is but one slogan that seems to be recited in unison by a country so united in its diversity… ‘Bura Na Mano, Holi Hai!’ So what are the ways the country celebrates this festival that makes them use the slogan so often? Read further to know.
42 kms away from Mathura, this village is the birthplace of Radha. Men from the village of Nandgaon, the village of Krishna, come here to play Holi and to raise their flag over the temple of Shri Radhikaji. However, ‘gopis’ from this village greet them with sticks instead of with colours. The men try to elude the women; and if they get captured, they are beaten with sticks by all the women. Further, they are made to wear female attire and dance, as this was supposedly the treatment the gopis gave Lord Krishna. The following day the men of Barsana and women of Nandgaon carry on this tradition. This is known as ‘Lathmaar Holi’.
2. Brij, Mathura, Vrindavan
This is the land of the most spectacular Holi celebrations. Holi is celebrated for a week here in a different Krishna temple each day. The most famous and most beautiful celebrations happen in Bakai-Bihari temple, wherein people, drenched in colour, dance and sing immersed in devotion. At Gulal-Kund lake in Brij, Holi celebrations are observed throughout the year, wherein people drench one another in colour and enact Krishna-Lila drama.
The traditions of ‘Basant Utsav’ were brought about by Sri Rabindranath Tagore. People welcome the season with colours, song and dance. They chant hymns in the serene surroundings of Shantiniketan. Holi is also known as ‘Dol Purnima’ or ‘Dol Jatra’ or the ‘Swing Festival’ here. People don saffron clothes and flower garlands, and they sing and dance, accompanied by musical instruments. They place the idols of Radha and Krishna in a decorated palanquin and carry them in a procession around the streets. As they sing and dance and spread colour and water, they take turns to swing the palanquin.
Holi is known as ‘Shigmo’ in Goa. ‘Shigmotav’ is celebrated with vibrant colours of gulal and neel here. However, the highlight of these celebrations is thev performance of troupes in the form of parades and cultural dramas. At dusk, huge effigies are taken out in processions and prizes are distributed as well. The ‘Panaji Shigmotsav Samiti’ organises a big spectacular parade in Panaji.
Holi celebrations in Manipur carry on for six days. Girls in Manipur extract money from boys in order to play colours with them. Here is a cue we girls should definitely take from them. People in Manipur wear traditional white and yellow turbans and go to temples to play gulal. They carry out a procession to the Krishna temple in Imphal on the last day and spread colour as well as engage in cultural activities. They perform the ‘Thabal Chongba’ or the moonlight dance, which is the traditional dance of Manipur.
Hola Mohalla, the annual fair in Punjab, was started by Sikh leader, Guru Gobind Singh, in order to celebrate Holi. The celebrations at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab are a true sight not to be missed, wherein there are demonstrations of physical agility instead of play with colours. This includes wrestling, martial arts, mock sword fights, acrobatic military exercises and turban tying, all of which happen on the ‘Delhi By Foot Hola Mohalla Tour’.
Holi in Tamil Nadu is known as Kamavilas, Kaman-Pandigai or Kama-Dahanamand is based on the legend of Kamadeva or the god of love, the Indian contemporary of Cupid. This festival is celebrated as the festival of love in Tamil Nadu and songs are sung.
Our country abounds in valuable heritage and traditions. One always marvels at the beauty of the various diverse traditions each festival calls for. What is your tradition of celebrating Holi? Do share with us and remember ‘Bura Na Mano, Holi Hai!’