Holi Celebrations in Different Regions of India

Holi is the festival of joy, vibrant colours and hope. It is one of the oldest festivals celebrated with much fervour throughout the country, with each state giving out its own flavour. Even the Indians living abroad celebrate it in their own way with much aplomb, enthusiasm and frolic to colour the loved ones.

Holi Rituals

The Indian temples abroad and in the country are decorated with a lot of eagerness, where Radha-Krishna’s idol is placed in a swing and the devotees sing Holi songs to offer their prayers and happiness in the process. Holi also depicts the arrival of spring throughout the country and is synonymous with colours, pichkari (water guns), water balloons, bhang (a drink made from Cannabis flowers) and snacks and sweets.

History of Holi

Going back in history, Holi also signifies holika dahan, which is essentially lighting of bonfires. This ritual is representative of the fact that good always wins over evil. This very fact also dates back to the time when demon king, Hiranyakashyap desired to end his son Prahlad’s life with the help of his sister- Holika.

Even the story of lord Radha-Krishna is associated with this festival wherein lord Krishna, who was dark complexioned was envious of his girlfriend Radha’s fair skin tone. He had smeared colours on her face, and since then it is observed that lovers like to apply colours on each other on this day as an expression of love.

Celebrating Holi in Bengal

Holi in Bengal is played with immense joy amidst the rich Bengali culture in place. It is also the time for Basant Utsav or spring festival which re-emerged from Shanti Niketan.  Rabindra Nath Tagore had introduced this in Shanti Niketan, wherein the festival is celebrated with colours complete with songs, dance, chanting.

Holi in Bengal is called dol purnima, which is also called the swing festival. People take turns to swing the idol of lord Radha-Krishna, offer bhog to them, observe fasts and the men spray water colours on each other while the women dance around besides singing devotional songs. 

Bihar Celebrates Holi

Holi in Bihar is celebrated with enormous zeal. Houses are cleaned before the festival. Bonfires are lit on phalgun poornima, wherein dung cakes, wood of Holika tree, grains from the new harvest and wood leaves are put into the bonfire.

Sometimes people also play with mud, and folks songs are sung complete with dholak, to mark the festival. People in Bihar often gorge on sweets, gujia, pakoras with thandai or bhang.

Holi in Maharashtra

Holi in Maharashtra is also called rangpanchami, complete with holika burning and colours. The fisher folk celebrate it with singing, dancing and merry making in place. People here like to devour on puranpolis, buttermilk, seasonal sugarcane and watermelon juice.

Holi in India’s Capital

Holi in Delhi is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur. This day is almost a bandh in the city with hardly any public transport on the streets. Holi here means tons of parties, feasts, music, dancing , cultural events, people  hug and greet with Holi colours across the city besides people also gather outside the residence of the Prime Minister or President to mark the festival of colours.

With people becoming aware of the consequences of the harsh chemicals, many young and old alike are going in for herbal Holi colours here.

Traditional Holi in Mathura

Holi in Mathura and Vrindavan is celebrated in possibly the best manner for over a week. All of the temples of Krishna celebrate the festival. People are seen drenched in the colours and dancing to the tunes of Holi songs and smearing the beloved’s faces with Holi colours, with complete devotion here.

Besides, the localities are also seen acting in the Krishna-Lila drama troupes with immense gusto.  This place gives us the complete picture of how Holi would have been in ancient times and the actual ritual is carried on till date.