It’s that time of year again! It’s been busy here in GoriRajkumari land with visits from family, an illness and preparations for Holi!
Holi (होली), is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus. Holi is also known as festival of Colours.
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, is celebrated by Hindu’s throwing scented, colored powder and perfume at each other.
Bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). After doing holika dahan prayers are said and praise is offered. The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion.
All of India wears a festive look when it is time for Holi celebration. Markets are alive with activity as people start making preparations for the festival. Heaps of various hues of gulal and abeer can be seen on the roadside days before the festival. Pichkaris in innovative and modern design too come up every year to lure the children who wish to collect them as Holi memorabilia and of course, to drench everybody in the town.
Women begin making early preparations for the holi festival as they cook loads of gujiya, mathri and papri for the family and for the relatives.
Great excitement can be seen in people on the day following Dhuli, when it’s actually the time to play “colours”. Shops and offices remain closed for the day in most cases, to give people an opportunity to play. Bright colours of gulal and abeer fill the air and people take turns in pouring colour water over each other. Children take special delight in spraying colours on one another with their pichkaris and throwing water balloons and passers-by. Women and senior citizen form groups called tolis and move in colonies – applying colours and exchanging greetings. Songs, dance on the rhythm of dholak and mouth-watering Holi delicacies are the other highlights of the day.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March.
This year, we not only get to celebrate Holi, but also International Women’s Day!
Have a GREAT Holi and International Women’s Day!
© GoriRajkumari 2012