Rituals of the ancient festival of Holi are religiously followed
every year with care and enthusiasm.
Days before the festival people start gathering wood for the lighting of
the bonfire called Holika at the major crossroads of the city. This ensures
that at the time of the actual celebration a huge pile of wood is collected.
Holika Dahan Celebrations
Then on the eve of Holi, Holika Dahan takes place. Effigy of Holika, the
devil minded sister of demon King Hiranyakashyap is placed in the wood and
burnt. For, Holika tried to kill Hiranyakashyap's son Prahlad
ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana. The ritual symbolises the victory of good
over evil and also the triumph of a true devotee.
Children also hurl abuses at Holika and pray pranks, as if they still try
to chase away Dhundhi
who once troubled little ones in the Kingdom
Some people also take embers from the fire to their homes
to rekindle their own domestic fires.
Play of Colors
Next day, is of course the main day of Holi celebrations. The day is called
and it is on this day that the actual play of colours take place. There is
no tradition of holding puja and is meant for pure enjoyment.
The tradition of playing colours is particularly rampant in north India and
even in that region, there can be no comparison to the Holi of Mathura
. In Maharashtra and Gujarat too Holi is celebrated
with lot of enthusiasm and fun.
People take extreme delight in spraying colour water on each other with
pichkaris or pouring buckets and buckets of it. Singing Bollywood Holi
numbers and dancing on the beat of dholak is also a part of the tradition.
Amidst all this activity people relish gujiya, mathri, malpuas
other traditional Holi delicacies with great joy.
Drinks, specially thandai laced with bhang
is also an intrinsic
part of the Holi festivity. Bhang helps to further enhance the spirit of the
occasion but if taken in excess it might dampen it also. So caution should
be taken while consuming it.
Holi Celebrations in South India
In south India, however, people follow the tradition of worshiping
Kaamadeva, the love god of Indian mythology. People have faith in the legend
which speak about the great sacrifice of Kaamadeva when he shot his love
arrow on Lord Shiva to break his meditation and evoke his interest in
After, an eventful and funfilled day people become a little sober in the
evening and greet friends and relatives by visiting them and exchange
sweets. Holi special get togethers are also organised by various cultural
organisations to generate harmony and brotherhood in the society.