It’s time for colours. It’s time for Holi. Celebrated in the month of March, the popular Indian festival marks the end of winter in the country. The famous Hindu festival is celebrated all over the country, albeit in different ways. Take a look at some of the different types of holi celebrations held in different Indian cities.
Holi with sticks – Barsana
The most colourful and traditional Holi is celebrated in the form of ‘Lath Mar Holi’ in Barsana near Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The festivity is said to be a recreation of stories from Hindu legends where Lord Krishna used to visit Barsana to tease Radha and her friends. In return the women of the village would scare him with laths (sticks) to push him out of the village. Following the age old tradition today women beat men from their village and the surrounding areas with lath warning them to stay away from the village girls and ladies. Festivities here begin with a big ceremony at the Radha Rani temple and marches ahead to the village and its neighbouring areas.
Traditional Holi – Vrindavan and Mathura
Holi in Vrindavan is highly popular in India and across the world. Celebrated for over a week’s time, the festival draws devotees and visitors from different parts to catch as glimpse of India at its colourful best. Mathura is where Lord Krishna was born and Vrindavan is where he spent his childhood. Festival celebrations here include parades, ‘Raas-Leela’ performances and other cultural shows.
Musical Holi – Shantiniketan, Kolkata
Notable poet and writer Rabindranath Tagore started the tradition of celebrating the festival of colours in the form of Basant Utsav or Spring Festival in Shantiniketan. On this day, university students dress themselves in bright yellow dresses to entertain the villagers by singing traditional songs and performing folk dances. Later in the evening, students and teachers apply abeer (coloured powder) on each other to end the celebrations.
Royal Holi – Udaipur and Jaipur
Holi in Udaipur is a royal affair. Bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi in order to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The traditional custom of Holika Dahan is performed by the current custodian of the royal family. In Jaipur, an elephant festival kicks off the festivities every year. A massive parade with beautifully decorated elephants, camels and horses followed by folk dancers and musicians take place.
Cultural Holi – Goa
The festival of colours in Goa is popularly known as Shigmostav. Spread over a fortnight, the festivities start off with prayers to gods and goddesses by the villagers and the locals. A major highlight of Shigmostav is the annual cultural parade held on the last 5 days of the festival. Performances by troupes, street musicians and dancers are a major attraction of the festival.