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Holi – The Indian Spring Celebration

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Holi – The Indian Spring Celebration

Holi is undoubtedly one of the most colorful and culturally diverse festivals celebrated in India. Celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March, Holi has an ancient origin celebrating the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘bad’, bridging social gaps and renewing sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other ‘Happy Holi’.

Holi is also a celebration to welcome spring and bid farewell to winter.

Celebrations begin with the lighting of the bonfire on the evening before Holi. On the day of Holi, people rub ‘gulal’ and ‘abeer’ on each other’s faces and cheer up saying, “bura na maano Holi hai”.

Did you know that there are actually 15 different kinds of Holi celebrated in India?

We have listed out a few of those for you, and if you plan correctly, you could spend this long weekend celebrating Holi like never before.

Phagua – Bihar

Holi is one of the major festivals celebrated in Bihar, the festival is called Phagua in the local dialect. Phagua is celebrated with colours that are derived naturally, and consuming bhaang, cannabis consumed in powder form, blended into sweets or milkshakes, is a big part of the festivities. Men and women, though mostly men, gather to dance to the tune of drums and folk music. Phaguva

Rang Panchami – Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

Holi is celebrated a bit differently here in Maharashtra, the celebrations take place on the 5th day after the burning of the Holi pyre and is called Rang Panchami.

People throw gulal, a red, fragrant powder and splash coloured water on each other. Rang Panchami is also known as Shimga in Maharashtra or Shimgo in Goa.

Image result for Rang Panchami - Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

Image Courtesy – Travel Themes

Hola Mohalla – Punjab

In Punjab, the festival of Holi is called “Hola Mohalla” and is observed by Sikhs. The word “Hola” is a masculine form of “Holi”, a feminine word and instead of playing with colours,  the Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla with a display of martial skills in mock battles, with the Nihang Sikhs leading the procession on horseback or elephant back, wielding a variety of weapons antique and modern, and displaying their prowess in using them.

Image result for Hola Mohalla – Punjab

Image Courtesy – Journeymart.com

 

Yaosang – Manipur 

Yaosang or Yaoshang is celebrated in Manipur over a duration of 6 days, starting on the day of the full moon, combining indigenous and Hindu traditions. Yaosang begins just after sunset in every village with the Yaosang Mei Thaba, or Burning of the Straw Hut. Then the children ask at every house for monetary donations, called Nakatheng. On the second day, groups of local bands perform sankirtan in the Govindagee Temple in the Imphal-East district of Manipur. On the second and third days, girls go to their relatives for their nakatheng and block roads with ropes for collecting money. On the fourth and fifth days, people pour or splash water on one another.

Another feature of this festival is Thabal Chongba (Dancing in the Moonlight). Males from various places will come to the site of the festival and dance in circles with the females, holding their hands. The locals also engage in feasting to celebrate this festival of merrymaking.

Image result for holi Yaoshang – Manipur

Image courtesy – The North East Today

Khadi Holi – Kumaon region, Uttarakhand 

The Kumaoni people, who are an agricultural community, celebrate Khadi Holi, quite literally “Standing Holi” in the Uttarakhand region. This festival is a musical affair and men in groups, sing songs, sporting traditional kurta, pyjama and a pointed cap. These groups of men are called Tolis. Khadi Holi is filled with excitement and frolic.

KumaonHoli

Basant Utsav and Dol Jatra- West Bengal

Holi is celebrated as Basant Utsav in West Bengal, it is the spring festival of that region. Young people dress up in saffron colors and play with dry colors. This is organized every year in Shantiniketan where one important part of the Holi festivities is the fun filled Dol Jatra where colors, music and dance come together in an energy packed event.

BasantUtsav

Manjal Kuli – Kerala

Kerala celebrates a different kind of Holi called Manjal Kuli or Ukuli. Traditional colours are replaced with coloured turmeric water and splashed on each other. Manjal Kuli was brought to Kerala by the Kudumbi community, originally native to Goa. The Kudumbis came to Kerala seeking refuge from Portuguese persecution.

In some of the Kudumbi temples in Ernakulam, an areca nut tree is felled and carried to the shrine, symbolizing Durga’s victory over the demons. In some temples in Thrissur, a figure of a crocodile is modelled out of mud. According to belief, the goddess, in the form of a crocodile, helped the Kudumbis when they faced trouble while migrating to Kerala.

Lathmar Holi – Barsana UP

Legend had it that Lord Krishna visited his beloved Radha’s village on this day and playfully teased her and her friends, only to be chased away by them with sticks, aka lathis. Keeping in touch with the tradition, men from Nandgaon visit the town of Barsana every year, only to be greeted by women with sticks. The women hurl sticks at the men whilst the men try to shield themselves as best as they can.

Any man unlucky to be caught is then dressed as a woman and made to dance in public.

This spectacle happens in the sprawling compound of the Radha Rani temple in Barsana, the only temple in the country dedicated to Radha. As the women gather to beat up the men, those on the sidelines sing Holi songs and shout “Shri Radhey!” or “Shri Krishna”

Indian Hindu women from Barsana beat the shield of men from Nandgaon during the Lathmar Holi festival at the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana, 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, Thursday, March 17, 2016. During Lathmar Holi the women of Barsana beat the men from Nandgaon, the hometown of Krishna, with wooden sticks in response to their teasing. (Nitin Joshi via AP)

Indian Hindu women from Barsana beat the shield of men from Nandgaon during the Lathmar Holi festival at the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana, 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, Thursday, March 17, 2016. During Lathmar Holi the women of Barsana beat the men from Nandgaon, the hometown of Krishna, with wooden sticks in response to their teasing. (Nitin Joshi via AP)

Ferdin

Ferdin

A quiet guy who loves reading and listening to music. Got bitten by the travel bug a while back and yearns to explore as many places as possible. Travel! Before you run out of time.

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