The onset of spring and the end of winter season each year raises the question “Holi Kab hain!!”
Gujia, Colour, Namkeen, Thandai, and a splash of water are reminiscent of our childhood Holi celebrations.
Why and when is the Holi festival celebrated? It is known to everybody, as the victory of good over evil.
As per the rituals being followed, it starts with the Holika Dahan, a day before the Holi celebrations. On this day people collect logs and make a huge blaze with them. It represents the fire in which Holika got burnt alive while she tried to kill her nephew Prahalad.
Holika was the sister of Hrinayakashipu the Demon King. He had instructed his sister Holika to kill his own son Prahalad.
Since Prahalad did not accept him as God and continued his devotion to God Vishnu.
Eventually, Lord Vishnu saved Prahalad in the Half Man-Lion form, which is known as Narasimha.
And as Lord Narasimha, he killed Hiranyakashipu, invalidating the boon given to him by Lord Brahma. Thus that day is marked as the victory of Good over Evil.
Another legendary Radha-Krishna story flourished with time for Holi, in which Krishna applied colour on himself and Radha, just to hide the skin colour difference between them.
This year’s Holi festival will be celebrated on March 18. 2022.
Do you know Holi is celebrated in diverse ways in different parts of India?
Once when I was in Northern India, I remember watching women in groups chasing away men with lathi or Stick in their hands. Yes, you heard me right, it’s called Lathmar Holi.
It further raised my curiosity to know, other ways to celebrate the Holi festival.
Lathmar Holi, Uttar Pradesh
This form of Holi is celebrated in the Barsana and Nandgaon regions of Uttar Pradesh. Legend says that Radha was from Barsana while Krishna belonged to the Nandgaon region. Once when Krishna and his friends entered Barsana to colour Radha and her friends. They were welcomed with sticks in Barsana. Since then, every year Men of Nandgaon come to colour the women of Barsana and they are greeted with Sticks during this festival. The men come ready with a ‘dhal or shield to safeguard themselves from sticks.
Thereon, it is known as the Lathmar Holi played with sticks and vibrant colours of Holi.
Shigmo Holi lasts for 14 days in the Phalgun-Chaitra month of the Hindu Calendar in Goa. People play with colours on the fifth day of the Shigmo Celebration.
The Shigmotsav Samiti organises parades carrying large effigies of characters from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Even the travellers participate and enjoy it with great pomp and fervour. Fishermen’s boats too are decorated with mythological themes.
Shigmo Holi has two variants – the Dhakto (small) and Vadhio (big) Shigmo. Dhakto is of more importance to the farming segment, the rural people, and labourers. Whereas the Vadhio Holi is celebrated by everyone.
In this Shigmo festival, you will get to see the vibrant cultural aspect of Goa. The Farmers and locals welcome the Spring through Shigmo folk songs and dance.
Hola Mohalla, Punjab
Punjab celebrates ‘Hola Mohalla around the same time as Holi.
It is a three-day festivity for Sikhs in Anandpur Sahib where Sikhs exhibit fighting mastery, horse-riding, and poetry. It is in recognition of valiant Sikh heroes, especially those belonging to the ‘Nihang Sikhs Sect.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji formed this extraordinary blend of Holi celebration. Where the Sikh community collect to display combative technique performances, customary society songs, and traditional dance.
Ukuli or Manjal Kuli , Kerala
Holi is not celebrated with the same zeal in southern India as in the North part of India. However, in Kerala, there are few communities that celebrate the Holi festival.
The Kudumbi community, brought along with them this colourful Holi festival to Kerala. Upon being oppressed by the Portuguese in Goa this community migrated from Goa to Cochin.
This form of Holi is called Manjal Kuli or Ukuli in Kerala, celebrated in the Gosripuram Thiruma’s Konkani Temple.
They play Holi with the turmeric powder mixed in water, which makes their Holi different from others.
Did you find some of these styles of the Holi festival interesting?
The ways of celebration may vary but the passion and Vigour across India, across age groups, are the most common facet of Holi.
Are you aware that eight days time period prior to Holi is considered inauspicious?
It is known as Holashtak, starts from the Ashtami Tithi of Phalguna month, and continues till Purnima. On the Purnima day, Holika Dahan is observed and then the next day Holi is celebrated with colours. Major planetary changes can be seen during these eight days. All the planets are aligned in a fierce position and they only give opposite results. Hence no auspicious work should be carried out during these 8 days.
- There is another mythological story attached to it. Once Lord Shiva got very furious at Lord Kamadeva. When Kamadeva shot his cupid arrow at him. In anger, Lord Shiva turned him into ashes on the Ashtami Tithi of Phalguna month. According to the legend, Goddess Rati, Kamadeva’s wife prayed to Lord Shiva with severe penance for 8 days. Therefore no auspicious work is advised during this time. And later, when Lord Shiva returned Lord Kamadeva’s Life that day everybody celebrated it with colours.
- It is also believed that Prahalad was severely tortured by Hrinayakashipu during these 8 days. The torment on him started from the Ashtami of the Krishna Paksha. And it ended on the Holika Dahan day that is Phalguna Purnima. During these eight days, Hrinayakashipu did everything to kill his son Prahalad, who was the worshiper of Lord Vishnu.
However, these basic measures can be taken to reduce the negative effect of the planetary positions
– Don’t do any important work during this time,
– Always observe positive thoughts and behaviour during these eight days
– Donate clothes, food, money and other necessary things to needy people
– Keep the house clean and remove any unwanted stuff causing negativity in the house
– It is also advisable to do Vishnu puja and Hanuman Puja
Scientifically also proven that during these 8 days Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Moon and other planets endure major changes.
And Finally, when this time period gets over then on the ninth day Holi is celebrated with Colors, Drums, Sweets and the undying spirit of
“Bura Na Mano Holi Hain !!”
'Holi hain' eternal Spirit, Continues with the Same Zest on Holi Festival by Astro Ganesha