The koel’s hoot heralds the arrival of spring, and the night is embraced in the full moon of Phalgun. The whole place is dressed in a riot of colors. The yellow mustard flowers carpet the fields. Colorful mounds of blue, green, red, and yellow powders are a common sight. Boxes of colors and balloons lay open. In place of garlands, pichkaris are hung across small shops and stalls. Holi, the spring festival of colors, has arrived.
Here are some unique traditions and moments that capture how the colorful festival is celebrated across the diverse nation that is India:
In Kerala, Kudumbi and a few Konkan communities, especially the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, play Holi by spraying turmeric dyed water at each other. It is also called Ukuli or Manjal Kuli. The locals then dance along to traditional Kerala percussion music.
Goa hosts the Shigmo spring festival, which overlaps with the Holi celebration there. Along with color spraying and smearing, there are traditional folk dances, colorful processions, and modern floats. Tourists from across the country and world head to the state to take part in the festivities.
Holi in Punjab is also called Hola Mohalla. Nihang Sikhs observe the festival, adorned in their traditional blue robes. There are various shows of strength including kushti and martial skills. Sword-fighting and exercising on speeding horses are also organized.
The Jaipur Elephant Festival is held on Holi eve. It is the only place where elephants participate in the celebrations. People get to wash and feed the elephants and smear them with color. Udaipur’s Mewar royal family also participates in the revelry with grandeur. There are bonfires and processions with the decorated elephants, horses, and the royal band.
The famous human pyramid is not limited to Janmashtami. In several places in Maharashtra and Haryana, and ocean of humanity comes to participate in or witness dahi handi and human pyramid during holi. In Haryana, it is called ‘’Dhulandi Holi’. In some places in Maharashtra, people also take ‘Holi’ dips in large colored water reservoirs.
In Karnataka, young boys steal logs and cow dung cakes from neighbors during the day and burn the stolen goods at night, signifying the burning of desires. They also dance around the fire singing ‘Kaamana kattige, Bheemana berani’.
Cow Dung Holi
Located 62 kms from Indore, the district of Ujjain sees a unique sort of Holi celebrations. The saints of 13 akharas smear cow dung and splash cow urine at each other. Flowers and sandalwood powder is also used. Cow products have medicinal properties, and the exercise promotes the welfare of the animal.
Holi sees nature, flowers, birds, and animals, along with humanity, don the colors of hope and faith that good will overcome evil. Experience the beautiful celebrations across the country with Keys Hotels.