SCFI FestivalsSociety for the Confluence of Festivals in India

Holi in Orissa

The tradition followed in Orissa is quite similar to that of West Bengal with only minor region specific changes. For instance, Holi assumes the name of 'Dol Purnima' here also, but instead of placing the idols of Krishna and Radha on the swing they place the idol of Lord Jagannath. This is so because of the famous temple of Jagannath at Puri. Besides, Jagannath is only a synonym of Krishna.

The palanquin - with the idol of Lord Jagannath on it is taken out in a procession around the main streets of the city. Devotees take turn to swing it while women dance around it and sing devotional songs. All this while men keep spraying coloured water and colour powder, 'abeer' at them.

Celebrations by milkmen

In the evening, milkmen, 'gwalas' carry the palanquin on their shoulders, for Krishna belonged to their clan. Games such as Dandi Khela are also played to mark the occasion. A special tent called 'jhoolan mandap' is erected to place the idol of Lord Jagannath at night. The following morning abeer is applied of the idol of the lord. Thereafter, people relish the special delicacies of the occasion such as pethas, laddoos made of puffed rice and sesame seed and play with colours. Towards evening, idols are given a dip in a pond and taken back to temple.

Here too, Holika is burnt in the evening as a symbol pf victory of good over evil. Later, married women carefully sweep away the ashes of the bonfire, to mark the spot with drawings made out of a paste of powdered sun dried rice and water.

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