The Festival Of Holi In India

The festival of Holi, also known as the festival of colours, is associated with several mythological narrations. It is celebrated in joy in spring, thanking for the harvest.

Colours, joy, and prayers of gratitude mark the festival. Holi is also a time for us to blossom into reformed selves, taking cue from mother Nature.

Here are few unique way of celebrating Holi in different parts of India.


In Gujarat, Holi is a two-day festival. On the evening of the first day people light the bonfire. People offer raw coconut and corn to the fire.

The second day is the festival of colour or “Dhuleti”, celebrated by sprinkling coloured water and applying colours to each other.

Dwaraka, a coastal city of Gujarat, celebrates Holi at the Dwarkadheesh temple and with citywide comedy and music festivities.

In Ahamedabad in Gujarat, in western India, a pot of buttermilk is hung high over the streets. Young boys make a human pyramid and try to reach it and break it. The girls try to stop them by throwing coloured water on them to commemorate the pranks of Krishna and the cowherd boys. The girls act as the Gopis who are trying to stop Krishna and the cowherds. The boy who finally manages to break the pot is crowned the Holi King.


Here, Holi lasts seven days with colour. On the last day, Ganga Mela or the Holi Mela is celebrated which is a grand fair. This is a unique fair as it was started by freedom fighters who fought British rule under the leadership or Nana Saheb. This represents the unity of the Hindus and Muslims who fought the British together.


In this north-eastern district of Uttar Pradesh, Holi starts with a special puja and this day is called “Holi Milan”. It is considered to be the most colourful day of the year and promotes love and brotherhood among the people. People visit every house and sing Holi songs and express their gratitude by applying coloured powder.


Holi in Uttarkhand includes a musical affair. People sing songs with a touch of melody, fun and spiritualism. These songs are essentially based on classical ragas. The colours used on Holi are derived from natural sources and are made from flower extracts, ash and water


Holi is known as Phaguwa in the local Bhojpuri dialect. Folk songs are sung at high pitch and people dance to the sound of the dholak.


The people of Odisha celebrate “Dola” on the day of Holi. The deities of Jagannath are taken in a procession called Dola Melana. “Dola yatra” was prevalent even before 1560 much before Holi was started where the idols of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra used to be taken to the “Dolamandapa” (podium in Jagannath temple).[64] People used to offer natural colours to the deities.


Holi is known by the name of “Dol Jatra”, “Dol Purnima” or the “Swing Festival”.

The icons of Lord Krishna and Radha are placed in a palanquin and taken round the main streets of the city or village. Students wear clothes in saffron colour or pure white and wear beautiful garland of flowers. They sing and dance to the accompaniment of musical instruments, such as ektara, veena etc. The devotees take turns to play them while women dance singing devotional songs. The men spray coloured water and powder at them.


Holi is locally called Ukkuli in Konkani. It is celebrated around the Gosripuram temple.

It is majorly celebrated as part of the spring festival known as Sigmo in Konkani. Holi festivities also include offering colour to the deity.


Here, Holi Purnima is also celebrated as Shimga and lasts for five to seven days.

Youngsters collect firewood and money. On the day of Shimga, the firewood is heaped into a huge pile in each neighborhood. In the evening, the fire is lit. Every household brings a meal and dessert in the honour of the fire god. Puran Poli is the main delicacy and children shout “Holi re Holi puranachi poli”. Shimga celebrates the elimination of all evil. The colour celebrations here take place on the day of Rang Panchami, five days after Shimga. During this festival, people are supposed to forget and forgive any rivalries and start new healthy relations with all.


Here, youths at night perform a group folk dance called Thagbal chongba on the full moon night of Lamta (Phalgun). Traditionally it used to be accompanied by folk songs and rhythmic beats of the indigenous drum.


In Sirsi, Karnataka, Holi is celebrated with a unique folk dance called “Bedara Vesha”, which is performed during the nights beginning five days before the actual festival day.


Holi celebrations are a high-spirited festival to mark the beginning of the harvesting of the summer crop. People celebrate by throwing coloured water and powder and there is lots of singing and dancing.


During Holi in Punjab, walls and courtyards of rural houses are enhanced with drawings and paintings similar to rangoli in South India. This art is known as chowk-poorana or chowkpurana in Punjab and is usually done by the peasant women of the state. In courtyards, this art is drawn on cloth. The art includes drawing tree motifs, flowers, ferns, creepers, plants, peacocks, palanquins, geometric patterns along with vertical, horizontal and oblique lines. These arts symbolize the arrival of spring.

Folk theatrical performances known as nautanki also take place during Holi.

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