Coloring Body And Soul
As Winter season slowly fades away, giving way to spring, it's again time to get all soaked into colorful celebrations, literally. After New Year, Holi is probably the most widely celebrated festival of colors in India diluting all the physical boundaries where people associated with any cast, religion or class meets with love and affection leaving behind all grudges, tensions and hatred of previous times. A perfect site of experiencing human morality. In different parts of the country, Holi is celebrated in different styles and sometimes under different names. But the energy and enthusiasm witnessed in people is less nowhere. Holi has been a part of Indian lifestyle from times immemorial. The festival finds reference in ancient texts and mythological stories describing the festival to be centuries older than the period of Holy Christ. However, the meaning and the style of celebrations have totally changed. They are now more of moments of merriment than strict traditions. Holi in 2008 falls on March 22
The Enchantment Begins
On the eve of Holi, Holika Dahan is performed in which an effigy of Holika (the evil demon sister) is burnt in a bonfire. People gather around the bonfire and enjoy the excitement of the coming day festival. On the day of Holi, it is impossible to step out onto the streets and not being colored. Every one on the streets is playing and soaked in colors from head to toe. And it is almost sure that they might be high on the 'Bhaang (opium) effect. This is one specialty of Holi that requires no persuasion for people to follow. During Holi, it is acceptable to indulge in opium drinks and sweets. The most well known item prepared is 'Bhaang ka Ladoo'(sweet round balls) mixed with doses of opium in it. Many such preparations like gujia, aloo chaat, jaljeera, all mixed with bhaang are an attraction of the day. Excess of everything is bad and same is the case with bhaang as well. Be sure to consume it in slight amount so that the spirit of the festival could be retained. More of it can mar your celebrations and that of people around you.
Children are the ones who enjoy the most with colors. Almost every kid is loaded with water balloons and pitchkaris(water guns), ready to drench their friends and families with colored water. Be alert, there might be a balloon coming your way as well. People dance to the tune of Bollywood songs with Holi as their theme. Though, be careful to use only natural colors for playing as synthetic colors can cause serious harm to skin. As evening sets in, people after a thorough bath, visit their dear ones wishing them and distributing sweets.
Knowing The Legend Associated with The Celebrations
Like all other festivals, there are legends attached to Holi as well. There are two main stories that go with Holi. According to one legend, Lord Krishna was upset with him being dark and Radha, his soul mate being fair. Once he complained about this to his mother who suggested him to use natural colors and paint Radha in any color he liked. He quickly took the mischievous idea and threw colored water on Radha and Gopis. Thus began the festival Holi. This is why Holi is the most important festival of Mathura and Vrindavan which are associated with the birth of Lord Krishna.
There is another Legend that explains the celebrations on the eve of Holi. There was a demon king named Hiranyakashipu who had a son named Prahalada. Hiranyakashipu was the ruler of Earth and asked everyone to worship him instead of gods. However his own son was an ardent believer of Lord Vishnu. Without paying any heed to his father's orders, he continued to worship Lord Vishnu. After several attempts to kill Prahalada failed, Hiranyakashipu asked one of his sisters Holika to kill him. She had the power to walk through fire unharmed. So she decided to sit in burning fire with Prahalada in her lap. However what she did not know was that her powers work only when she passes alone. She perished in the fire but Prahalada was saved by Lord Vishnu himself. That is why bonfire are lit on the eve of Holi.
Experiencing The Most Electrifying
Nowhere in India will you see celebration as grand and as exciting, as in Mathura and Vrindavan. It is here Holi originated and it is here Holi is celebrated to the hilt. Holi is known as Brij Holi in these towns. People from all over India and even from abroad come to these sacred places in Uttar Pradesh, to witness the most colorful dream coming true, right in front of their eyes. Celebrations here continue for more than a week. Men from Vrindavan visit Barsana, a small village which is the birthplace of Radha. Women here beat men with sticks to prevent themselves from being teased by them. Due to this, the festival here is called Lathmaar Holi. Gujarat too has its own way of celebrating Holi with hundreds of people forming a human pyramid to break a pot full of buttermilk, tied very high over the grounds. The energy and enthusiasm of the people is quite infectious. Holi is a major festival in Delhi, West Bengal and Bihar.
Choose India your holiday destination to enjoy this fun and follic festival of Holi drinched with wormth of love soaked in varied range of colours ready to entice the whole of environ. Visit Mathura Vrindavan to experience the true essence of Holi celebrations in traditional ways out in the streets, narrow lanes of houses, temples and market areas. Tourist can participate as well in this gala event and can become the part of Holi celebration. So ! What are you waiting for, get ready to baptize into the holy spirit.
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