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.
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
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.
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'
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.