INDIA: Holi, the festival of colours celebrates the triumph of good over evil, symbolises the passing of winter, and is celebrated as a day of spreading happiness and love. It is celebrated with much funfair all over India and also in countries where there is a significant presence of Indian Diaspora.
In, a feature published a day ago, we talked about a few of various variations in celebrations across India. Listed here are a few more significant ones:
Maharashtra and Gujarat
In Maharashtra and Gujarat, a traditional celebration includes Matki Phod, somewhat similar to Dahi Handi during Krishna Janmashtami takes place. Boys and girls dressed as Krishna, Radha, and Gopis take part in it and boys try to break an earthen pot filled with buttermilk which is hung high by a rope, by making human pyramids. The girls try to stop them by throwing buckets full of coloured water.
In Maharashtra, the festival is also celebrated as Shimga, and burn a huge pile of wood, and others to celebrate the elimination of all evil. Fire god is offered a meal and dessert by every family. Puran Poli is the main delicacy in the offering. People play with colour on the day of Rang Panchami, five days after Shimga. People also celebrate the festival as Rang Panchami, and smear gulal and splash water on each other, and then in the afternoon gorge on Maharashra’s special Holi delicacy, Puran Poli.
Its called Dola in Odisha and a procession of the deities of Jagannath is taken out. Prasad/Bhoga is offered to the deities, and people apply abeera to the deities and then on each other.
it’s called Phakuwa/Doul Jatra in Assamese, and is celebrated all over Assam over two days. On the first day, clay huts are burnt which signifies the legends of Holika, and next day, people play with colour powders.
Holi is called Phaguwa in Bhojpuri. After the usual Holika Dahan and playing with wet colours, people observe Holi Milan in Bihar, where people visit each other’s family in the evening, apply abeer on each other and on the feet of the elderly as a mark of respect.
In Telangana, the festival is related to the legend of Kama Deva, and is known as: Kamavilas, or Kaman Pandigai or Kama-Dahanam. The night before is celebrated as Kamudha night, and rice, corn, and wood are put together and set on fire.
Holi in Uttarakhand takes different forms such as the Baithki Holi (also known as Nirvana Ki Holi), the Khari Holi, and the Mahila Holi. In Baithki Holi and Khari Holi, people sing songs with a touch of melody, fun, and spiritualism. The Khari Holi is mostly celebrated in the rural areas of Kumaon.
Mewar’s royal family in Rajasthan celebrates Holi in a very grand and regal fashion with a magnificent palace procession from the royal residence to the city palace where an effigy of Holika is burnt.
Jammu and Kashmir
In Jammu and Kashmir, Holi celebrations are similar to those in other parts of North India.
In Karnataka Holi is celebrated for two days, and Holika Dahan is known as Kamadahana. At a place called Sirsi, every alternate year Holi is celebrated with a unique folk dance, Bedara Vesha. In the temple town of Hampi though, the whole town turns out to play Holi in the morning amid drumming, dancing, and throwing of colors
Holi played abroad
Holi is one festival that people of all caste and religion or nationality love to indulge in. And it is a popular festival all over the world. In Nepal, it is celebrated as a national festival, and it signifies the legends of the Hindu god Krishna. Newar Buddhists and others worship the Saraswati shrine in Vajrayogini temples and celebrate the festival with their Hindu friends.
Indian diasporas along with their friends in countries that they live in like, S. Africa, North America, Europe, Latin America, and parts of Asia celebrate Holi with the same enthusiasm as in India. A few countries where Holi is celebrated are Suriname, Trinidad, and Tobago, and Guyana as Phagwah festival, and also in Fiji, Mauritius, United States, Indonesia, and also in Pakistan.