Holi Celebration in India 2017
India is a country with an interesting culture and unique festivals that make it truly special. You can be in this country any time of the year and be a part of some or the other festival. If you are in India now, then you can witness one of the most colorful festivals of the country ‘Holi’ which is also often referred to as the ‘Festival of Colors’. Holi is celebrated on full moon day of Phalgun, according to the Hindu calendar that usually falls at the end of February and beginning of March of the English calendar which is on March 13th in 2017 and is also known as ‘Basant Utsav’. Holi is observed to mark the victory of the good over the evil and also the end of winter ushering in the spring harvest season. The most common practice by Indians all over the world is to smear colors on one another and drench friends in colorful water as a part of all the fun during this major festival.
Stories About Holi
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This fun-filled festival has several stories about its origin. Every state has its own version that can be found in historic scriptures and paintings. The most popular stories in mythology about ‘Holika’ and ‘Radha-Krishna’ trace us to the origin of this festival. ‘Holika Dahan’ or huge bonfires are lit on the first day to commemorate the win of good over evil. Demon king Hiranyakashyap wanted to slay his blessed son Prahlad by throwing him into fire with help from his sister Holika who burnt in the blaze and left Prahlad unharmed. The legend of Hindu God Krishna and his companion Radha is another interesting one which has the dark-skinned Krishna spill color on the fair Radha as an expression of love.
Rituals for Holi
Source : theworldfestival.net
Holi celebrations in India start way before the actual day. in some places the festivities start a week before and ends with playing of colors. However, the most significant observance is the burning of the bonfire or ‘Holika Dahan’ to celebrate the vanquishing of evil and victory of good on Holi eve. The second day is all about playing with colors especially the dry ones that are known as ‘gulal’ or ‘abeer’. The young also touch the feet of elders and seek blessings. Colored water is sprayed through jets called ‘pichkari’ and also with colorful balloons filled with water.
Special Food for Holi
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Every celebration is incomplete without food and Holi is no exception. Various savory and sweet delicacies are made with love for all near and dear ones. You can treat yourself to Saankhein, Puran Poli, Gujia, Papdi, Dahi Bhalle, Malpua, Sweet Kachoris, etc. that are popularly available even at sweet shops and other eateries especially for this festival.
Holi Celebrations in India
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India being a large country has cultural diversities as well and Holi is observed different in various parts. There are some places in India that are famous for the Holi celebrations. The legend of Radha and Krishna is very popular in Mathura and Vrindavan, the homeland of the God. ‘Lathmar Holi’ is celebrated in Barsana village of Uttar Pradesh where women beat up men from neighboring village Nandgaon with sticks! In Shantiniketan, West Bengal, Holi is celebrated as ‘Basant Utsav’, wherein women dress up in bright spring colors and put up a large cultural function commemorating Tagore’s creations apart from throwing colors. At Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, you can witness people wrestling, martial arts, mock sword fighting, turban tying, acrobatics, etc. in a show of physical strength. People wish each other ‘Happy Holi’ with a hug and send best wishes to all. Everyone can be seen in a joyous and celebratory mood where all set aside their differences and take part in the gaiety. The occasion also blurs all social differences allowing people of all castes and creeds to come together and celebrate. in Udaipur, Mewar’s royal family can be seen in a gorgeous palace procession from the royal residence to Manke Chowk replete with bedecked horses and band followed by ‘Holika Dahan’. Although the festival is less common in Southern India as compared to the Northern parts, you can see more of a temple rituals where people throw and play with colors, dance to drum beats in these ruins and then head towards the river for a dip to cleanse the colors in Hampi. Apart from these, you can also enjoy various festivals in cities like Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, Purulia for a different yet another enriching experience.
You can be a part of Holi and create amazing memories for yourself. It is one of the best festivals in which you can have unlimited fun and frolic in one of the most colorful events of the country. However, do remember to wash yourself well and cleanse your eyes if you partake in these colorful celebrations.