One of the major and the most beautiful festival that is celebrated all over India is the festival of color – Holi as we commonly know. Known by different names the festival is celebrated with fervor and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun (February – March). A unique festival read the article for a better insight into it.
Holi – the festival of color is celebrated all over India and especially in the northern parts of the country. Known by different names the festival is celebrated with fervor and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun (February – March). What makes the festival unique is that people greet each other with bright colors. The celebrations are marked by music, dance and color.
The day represents the colors of spring, victory of good over evil, the festival is also known as Kamadhana and Dol yatra.
The Day before Holi – Holika Dahan
In some parts of the country, celebrations start a day before the actual day of Holi. Termed as
Holika Dahan a bonfire is started to symbolize victory of good or evil, positive over negative. The story behind the bonfire is discussed in detail in part of the article. Organic debris and logs are used for lightening the bonfire. This is also regarded as an opportunity for cleaning the property. Some embers from the fire are taken home, believing that these will purify the house.
The Day of Holi
On the day of Holi what one sees all around is just color and what one hears is only laughter. People emerge from their houses in old clothes or in white clothes with hands full of colored powder and water pistols in hand. People play with colors, dance to the music and treat the strangers also as the best of friends on this day. The atmosphere is all charged up and people enjoy themselves thoroughly.
Pranks, jokes, teasing and bawdy humor an integral part of the celebrations. Everything gets excused by saying ‘Burra Na Mano Holi Hai’ (Don’t mind, it’s Holi). The festival is celebrated without any inhibitions and constraints. Dramatic representations of Radha Krishna are carried out and holy songs about Shiv Parvati, Sita Ram and Radha Krishna sung. After remembering God, folk lores are sung.
Dry colors that are used on the day of Holi are known as ‘gulal’ and when gulal is mixed with
water it is termed as ‘rang’. Every color that is used in the celebrations has significance. The color red is considered to be a symbol of fertility, love and beauty; color yellow represents pious feelings; blue represents calm and is considered to be Lord Krishna’s color; Green represents new beginnings and a bountiful harvest.
Like any other Indian festival special food and drink are an integral part of the celebrations.
Both sweet and salty treats are prepared to be relished on this day. Some of the delicacies that are really popular on this day are gujjia, mathri and puran poli. Thandhai a special drink is prepared especially for this day. A cool drink it is made using water, rose petals, saffron, pepper, cardamom and a variety of exotic seeds and nuts.
In the next article we will bring to light the significance and legends associated with this colorful festival.