Holi Festival

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Holi Festival

***** Location: India
***** Season: Spring
***** Category: Observance


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Thanks to sushil singh for introducing the following information.

Holi: Different Shades in Different Region

Holi is one of the major festivals of India and is celebrated in almost every parts with great fun and frolic. The joys of Holi know no bound. The festival is celebrated across the four corners of India or rather across the globe. However, each part of the country has its own way of celebrating Holi in a different way. Let's have a look at how Holi is celebrated in different part of the country:

North India
Holi is one of the major festival of India and is the most vibrant of all. The festival is filled with so much fun and frolic that the very mention of the word 'Holi' draws smile and enthusiasm amongst the people. Holi also celebrates the arrival of Spring, a season of joy and hope.

In North India, Holi is related to the life of Lord Krishna. He spent most of his childhood in Mathura and Vrindavana and it is believed that he was the one who introduced the modern form of Holi and thus it is celebrated with great enthusiasm at these places for about a week. Both the places are situated in Uttar Pradesh where temples, dedicated to Krishna and Radha, are amazingly decorated during the celebration of Holi. The festival is celebrated by getting drenched with colored water and is considered auspicious. Since Radha belonged to Barsana while Krishna belonged to Nandagaon, on the day of Holi, men from Nandagaon go to Barsana to celebrate Holi with the women there. The playful teasing of women and attempts to color them with 'gulal' and wet colors from 'pichkari' is returned by them by attempts to escape and beating the men with sticks to scamper them away.

Eastern India
In Bengal, Holi is called Dol Yatra (the Swing Festival) in which idols of Krishna and Radha are placed on swings and devotees take turns to swing them. Women perform devotional songs and dances around the swing as men spray colored water and 'Abeer' (colored powder) on them. Orissa has similar traditions as Bengal except for the fact that the idols of Jagannath is placed on the swing here instead of Krishna and Radha, who is believed to be another form of Krishna.

Read more HERE
© February 14, 2006 / DesiDirectory.com

CLICK for more color photos here

Holi In Different States of India

Holi is celebrated with the same fervour and charm in Bihar as in rest of north India.Here too, the legend of Holika is prevalent. On the eve of Phalgun Poornima, people light bonfires. They put dung cakes, wood of Araad or Redi tree and Holika tree, grains from the fresh harvest and unwanted wood leaves in the bonfire. Following the tradition people also clean their houses for the day. Children and the youth take extreme delight in the festival. Though the festival is usually played with colours at some places people also enjoy playing holi with mud. Folk songs are sung at high pitch and people dance to the tune of dholak and the spirit of Holi. Intoxicating bhang is consumed with a variety of mouth watering delicacies such as pakoras and thandai to enhance the mood of the festival.

Delhi being the capital and the heart of India, celebrates Holi with extreme enthusiasm. Being a metro city, an amalgamation of cultures and traditions can be witnessed here. Virtually all aspects of Holi as seen in various states are noticeable in the numerous pockets of Delhi. People move out in tolis and apply colour on each other till they become unrecognizable. Play with colors peaks up in the residential colonies as people usually do not go out with families beyond their neighborhood. Even public conveyances do no ply with usual frequency. Feasts, music, dancing and blasting parties are held all over the city to mark the festival of colours. People hug and greet each other by applying abeer as tilak. Any feeling of hardship or animosity is forgotten on the day. Is is said that even the enemies become friend on Holi. On the eve of Holi, bonfires or Holika are lit in the important centres of the city where people celebrate the victory of good over evil. Wood for burning Holika is collected weeks before the festival. Being a political hub of the country, Delhi sees huge enthusiasm even among the politicians. Holi is also celebrated at the Presidents and Prime Minister residences where people gather to play Holi. Cultural events and lots of fun mark the day.

The vibrant Gujarat reverberates with the chants of the folk song-'Govinda ala re, zara matki sambhal Brijbala..'. People, specially the youth of the state are high on the spirit of the festival. So much energy can be seen amongst the boys and girls of this state as they move in processions 'tolis'. Drenched in coloured waters boys cheerfully warn people to take care of their pots of butter and milk. The tradition has its origin from the legend of Lord Krishna who was known to steal butter and milk from any accessible house in his village. The state is famous for the tradition of breaking earthen pot full of buttermilk and tied high on a rope.
Hundreds of people participate in forming a human pyramid, in order to reach the pot. At places, there are also prizes for the group which successfully breaks the pot. The person who actually breaks the pot is crowned the 'Holi King' of the locality for the year. Participation of the onlookers is no less. They keep throwing buckets of water on the boys forming the pyramid.

Read more HERE
© 2004, 2005 DesiDirectory.com

Worldwide use

New York

Although the Holi Festival originated in India, it has emigrated all over the world.

Yesterday, Sunday, March 11, 2012,
it was celebrated in the New York City borough of Queens, where I live. An estimated 20,000 people participated in the celebration.

Here it is an Indo-Carribean festival, also known as Phagwah. Queens is home to many people whose roots go back to Trinidad, Surinam and Guyana, and before that to India.

From a newspaper account of yesterday's festivities:

"Festival participants throw colored powder known as 'abrac' on each other to celebrate the approaching spring season and to chase away the winter grays. Festival-goers normally wear all white and throw bright pink, green and blue dyes and powders."

Holi Festival:
a flower blossoming
on every face!

Larry Bole

Things found on the way

Holi in Mathura Vrindavan
Holi is one of the most important festivals in India. ... The Holi of Mathura and Vridavan is extremely famous throughout the country.

It is said that the tradition of playing colors on Holi originated from the ‘leela’ of Radha and Krishna. As Krishna was always jealous of Radha's fair complexion, he teasingly colored Radha's face with color. In a mischievous mood, Radha also ran behind him badly annoyed and shouting. This was how the tradition of applying color came in being and is religiously followed till date. People of Mathura and Vridavan associate Holi with the divine love of Krishna and Radha.

According to mythological records, it is said that Mathura is actually the birth place of Lord Krishna, whereas Vrindavan is the place where he spent the early days of his childhood and left behind tales of mysticism and divinity. This explains the enigma of Mathura Vrindavan, where one can still feel the divine presence of the Lord. This is the place where Lord Krishna introduced the modern form of Holi. This is the reason that Holi is celebrated with great zeal here.

Thousands of people visit the place, in search of peace, every year. The Holi celebrations present another reason for the admirers of the Lord to assemble at Mathura Vrindavan. They come to be a part of the colorful amalgamation of festivity and divinity. The main aim behind the festival of Holi is to rejoice in the love and devotion for the Supreme Being. The color and water washes away all the man made distinctions based on caste, creed, and other differences created by the society. Holy here is spiritually enlightening.

The celebrations of the festival go on for about a week in Mathura Vrindavan. One of the unique features of the festival here is that different temples of Lord Krishna celebrate Holi on different days. It is interesting as well as amazing, to watch devotees at the Banke-Bihari Temple of Vrindavan. The environment is filled with a unique thrill, with people passionately chanting the name of Lord Krishna and Radha. Interesting celebrations also takes place at Gulal-Kund in Braj where boys mock Krishna leela on the day of Holi.
source : festivals.iloveindia.com

flute music
in every street -
holi in Vrindavan

- Shared by Aurora Geet
Joys of Japan, March 2012



astral ciborium
shifts ~ earthlings
dance in colours

holi bhaang dancers
the Dionysian frenzy
colours sunlight

a meta equality
in tentative anarchy ~ human
kaleidoscope unfolds

erratic rhythm
erratic steps ~ but
still it is holi

rainbow colour
rhythms unfold light
on a pastel stream

"bhaang pio
naach nachavo
rang biranghi holi "

"drink bhaang
dance dance dance on
coloury coloury holi "

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"Bhaang": ordinary leaves of cannabis indica which are pasted mixed with milk and nutpaste, saffrom, elaichi (cardamom) sugar etc. The ensuing milk-drink is also called "bhaang" ~ it is specially drunk on Holi day.[ bhaang is a mild euphoric ]

holi ecstasy ~~
Yogi opens his eyes, smiles
closes them again

two butterflies too
join the seamless colours
of the holi dance

multi-coloured pekingese
shudders ~ spectral halo blooms
in morning breeze

holi din
cheelam me charas ~
shiv shambho
[ Hindi ]

holi day
hashish in the cheelam
"shiv shambho" ~

Notes ~

CLICK for more photos "cheelam" (chillum, or chilam) is the nearly conical smoking device made of clay:
a clean cloth is wrapped at the smoking end ~
People share cheelam and say "Shiv Shambho" near various Shiva temples under Banyan trees normally . Charas [ Hashish] is considered to be Shiv Bhutti [ "jo cheez Shiv ko priyankar hai" [That which is dear to Shiva ] ~ A north Indian cha'walla's definition. It is also called "Shiva Mooli" [ The Herb Of Shiva ] Shiva Jata [ The matted Locks Of Shiva ] in most Indian Languages including Sanskrit and Tamizh ~ Ganga and charas [ from the species Cannabis Indica] have been used in india from times immemorial especially by the Shaivites and Taantriks ~ .

holi evening
colours still linger on the man
puffing a cheelam

twilight horizon ~
a cow still rainbow-coloured
chewing the cud

Narayanan Raghunathan, India 2007


holi —
shower of colours from above
love overflows

love in tides ebbs
old enmity

thick colours on young cheeks
no place to kiss

drizzle of colours
for holy bath

Holi is great festival perhaps inviting the Spring on earth. It is celebrated all over India. It symbolises the struggle between the evil and good, where virtue triumphs. We wish Happy Holi to our friends all over the world, in Japan in particular.

Kumarendra, 2008


holi ka dahan -
flames rise
cleaning the souls

(holi ka dahan - the bon fire made on Holi day)

B.Vadivelrajan, 2008


Holi hai,
draped in colors
naked kids

painted faces
no one recognising-
mischief in air

street of Mathura
he slips on wet earth
soaked in colour

Prof NK Singh, 2008


rainbow after shower -
a girl fully colored
after celebrating Holi

Shared by Satdeep Gill
Joys of Japan, February 2012


colours of Holi -
I fail to recognise
my friend

sunil uniyal
Kigo Hotline 2012


winds blowing north
fanning the smoke of incense -
festival of colours

saying farewell
to winter, housewives springclean --
Holi Utsav

- Shared by Brinda Buljore -
Haiku Culture Magazine , 2013


colorless Holi
her widows' white remains

first Holi -
a bride's blush under
the tesu flowers

Angelee Deodhar

The color used to play Holi in ancient India was extracted from Tesu flowers which bloom during the spring season. It is believed that Lord Krishna played Holi with Radha using colors made from Tesu flowers.

Even today many of the temples in Vrindavan, Braj area and Mathura play Holi with traditional yellowish-orange coloured water extracted from dried Tesu Flowers.
source : www.hindu-blog.com


Holi moon –
the neighbourhood echoes
with barks

Johannes Manjrekar

Related words

***** Festivals of India, all are kigo


1 comment:

Gabi Greve - sharing said...

a frenzy of colour
good overcometh evil
the dancers tale

--gillena cox

Phagwa is celebrated on the first day of the full moon in the month of Phagun (February to early March).
It came to Trinidad and Tobago with the arrival of Indian indentureship in 1845.