Holi- A popular ancient Hindu festival which is known as the Indian “festival of colors”, the “festival of spring”, and the “festival of love and felicity”. Holi heralds the arrival of spring after winter and celebrated as a day of spreading happiness and love. From happy faces to artificial rainbows, from brotherhood to fraternity, from disseminating the sweetness of sweets to splashing of colors on each other, Holi brings everything.
Why we celebrate Holi?
According to Bhagavat Purana, King Hiranyakashipu (an Asura and king of the daityas) who could neither be killed by a man or an animal, grew arrogant and demanded that everybody should worship him as a God. The King’s son Prahlada, disagreed and chose to remain devoted to Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu was infuriated and subjected his son to cruel punishments. Finally, Holika, the King’s sister, tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. While Holika protected herself with a cloak, Prahlada remained exposed. As the fire blazed, the cloak flew from Holika’s body and encased Prahlada, thus saving his life.
Later, Lord Vishnu appeared in the avatar of Narsimha (half man and half lion) and killed the king. This is why Holi begins with the Holika bonfire, which marks the end of evil.
Have you ever imagined yourself celebrating the festival of colors (Holi) with snowy mountains and hills? Holi colors against the white snow! In Sangla, Holi begins a night before. The community gathers around the bonfire to perform traditional rituals. Early morning, the day begins with the landscape being all snowy. The festival starts at the temple where you can soak in all the prayers, chanting and folk songs.
Men are chosen to dress up as characters from the epic Ramayana (one of the major Sanskrit epics of ancient India). Wigs, make-up, and vibrant costumes are donned with style and then the parade begins. On the beats of drums and trumpets, people move from one village to the next with huge smiles on their faces. And, in the meantime, women perform local dances in a circle. The energy is at an all-time high. On Holi, it seems like the entire valley is vibrating with energy.
The celebrations go on till the wee hours of the morning, without any indication of tiredness.
The colorful state of Rajasthan plays Holi much the same way as Mathura. A night before the full moon, crowds of people gather together and light huge bonfires to burn the residual dried leaves and twigs of the winter. Singing, dancing and the traditional beats of dhol add to the gaiety of the occasion.
Pushkar Holi is a great example of the co-existence of two varied cultures- Rajasthan and Israel. During the winter months, one can find as many foreigners, especially Israelis, in Pushkar as the natives. And the festival of Holi marks the culmination of the co-existence of the two cultures. And that’s what sets the Pushkar Holi festival apart from Holi celebrations in other parts of India.
The traditional Pushkar Holi celebration starts with a stick dancing and trance party in the morning. Trance is the genre of electronic music. It is characterized by repeating melodic phrases. People enjoy trance music with splashing rainbow colors on each other.
Kapda-Faad is one of the most long-drawn traditions of Holi in Pushkar. Sounds a bit Wonky right? Men are not allowed to keep their shirts intact. Any man who enters the party is bound to have its t-shirt ripped and thrown to the winds. Pushkar people celebrate Holi with full madness and with full craziness.
“A nation with beauty in diversities”. Cultures, festivals, and food have always been a reason for a person to travel to India and this is the uniqueness of our country. You will find different cultures with different traditions at every step. These festivals, cultures and traditions are what make India as “Incredible India”.
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