Holi 2023: India is celebrated for its cultural diversity. Different regions, traditions, and rituals enrich India’s cultural heritage. The festival of colours is no exception. You will be amazed to know that the celebration of colours comes with unconventional rituals, which are steeped in the regional ethos of the nation. As India is celebrating `Holi` today, let’s revisit the unique traditions that have become part and parcel of this festival.
A unique ritual is practised in Barsana village in Uttar Pradesh where women beat males with wooden sticks. Men sometimes tease the women to get their attention and then shield themselves from their beating. Lathmar Holi was showcased in the song `Gori Tu Latth Maar` from the film `Toilet: Ek Prem Katha` which featured Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar in the lead roles.
Hola Mohalla is celebrated a day after Holi by Nihang Sikhs in Punjab. On this day, at Shri Harmandir Sahib, the devotees along with their families, bow down, listen to Gurbani, take a dip in the holy water, and take the blessings of Guru Sahib. The festivities include a display of martial arts, horse-riding, and reciting poetry, primarily to pay homage to the bravery of Sikh warriors followed by colourful Holi celebrations.
Varanasi, the city famous for its Holi celebrations, has a shocking custom. Following the priest`s puja, people in the activity throw ashes from cremation pyres at one another. Usually, gulal is added to the ashes to give them colour.
Several locations in India observe this custom, which involves building enormous heaps of dry branches and unwanted items, which are subsequently set on fire. It means welcoming happiness and success into our life while letting go of sorrows and negativity.
In some areas of Bengal, namely Santiniketan and Birbhum, people celebrate Basanta Utsav, a Holi celebration that includes singing, dancing, and hymn chanting. People gather and offer prayers to Lord Krishna. Men throw `abir` or coloured powder, and dance around the swings as the ladies sing religious songs and dance. The rituals are significant as they are the chroniclers of the history and evolution of a particular region of the country.