SCFISociety for the Confluence of Festivals in India

Holi in Bengal

There is a particular elan in the way Holi is celebrated in the state of West Bengal. Panache is added by the presence of the rich Bengal culture and the existence of Shantiniketan.

Basant Utsav

The high point of this state is the celebration of 'Basant Utsav'. The tradition was reintroduced by poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan, the University he founded. 'Basant Utsav' means 'Spring Festival', here boys and girls joyfully welcome Spring, the season of Hope not just with colours but with songs, dance, chanting of hymns in the serene ambiance of Shantiniketan.

Dol Purnima

On the Dol Purnima day in the early morning, the students dress up in saffron-coloured clothes and wear garlands of fragrant flowers. They sing and dance to the accompaniment of musical instruments presenting an enchanting view to the onlookers and a memory to cherish for years.

In Bengal, Holi is known by the name of 'Dol Jatra', 'Dol Purnima' or the 'Swing Festival'. The festival is 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.

The head of the family, observes fast and prays to Lord Krishna and Agnidev. After all the traditional rituals are over, he smears Krishna's idol with gulal and offers "bhog" to both Krishna and Agnidev.

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