The festival of Dolyatra is celebrated with pomp and dignity in the
state of West Bengal. It is essentially a festival of colours, just as Holi
is but the way it is celebrated makes it different from Holi as witnessed in
rest of India.
What makes, Dolyatra so special in West Bengal
is the fact that it
is the last festival of Bengali Year. The festival is being celebrated since
ancient times. It celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna which says that
Lord Krishna expressed his love to her beloved Radha on the day of Dolyatra.
Before starting with celebrations, people worship Radha and Krishna on this
day. In some places special pujas and bhajans are also organsied. Once the
ceremony gets over people indulge in play with colours.
Colour powder is popularly known as 'phag'
in Bengal. Shops remain
closed on the day and people get all the time to drown themselves in the
spirit of the festival. Following the tradition young people start the
festival by applying phag on the pictures of the deceased in the family and
then on the feet of the elders as a mark of respect. The elders bless them
by applying colour on the faces. After this, phag is applied on anybody and
'Dol Jatra', 'Dol Purnima' or the 'Swing Festival'
as Dol Yatra is
then celebrated in a dignified manner by placing the idols of Krishna and
Radha on a picturesquely decorated palanquin which is then taken round the
main streets of the city. The devotees take turns to swing them while women
dance around the swing and sing devotional songs. All this while men keep
spraying coloured water and colour powder, 'abeer' at them.