FOR THOSE bhaartiy PEOPLES WHO HAVE BEEN AWAY FOR TOO LONG OVERSEAS...KNOW THE CURRENT STYLE OF CELEBRATION OF Holii
Posted by Vishva News Reporter on March 17, 2003

From the web site SIFY PEOPLE AND PLACES:

The festival of Holi begins on Duwadashi - on the twelfth day of the waxing moon of the month of Phalgun. Three days before the full moon, Rang Pashi brings Holi into all households.

Spirits run high as the preparations for the festivities begin, as a custom, mothers make new clothes for their married daughters. Coloured powder (Gulal) is bought and prepared, long syringes called `pichkaris` are made ready and water balloons are bought and filled.

Preparations are made to cook the special food items exclusively meant for this festival. The families get together in the evenings when people visit each other to perform the formal sprinkling of colour.

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Rituals of Holi

Three days before the full moon, `Rang Pashi` brings Holi into all households. To begin the celebrations, a `thali` or plate is arranged with coloured powders and coloured water is placed in a small brass container called a `lota`. The eldest male member of the family begins the festivities by sprinkling coloured water and powders on each member of the assembled family. It is then the turn of the younger ones to do the same. In this unique way, affection and blessings are shared by all in the family. The celebrations on this day end with the partaking of food specially cooked for this occasion - gujjia, papri and kanji ke vade. Sometimes, meat dish like kofta curry is also served. It is customary to serve drinks before the meal.

The next day is known as `Puno`. On this day, Holika is burnt in keeping with the legend of Prahlad and his devotion to lord Vishnu. In the evening, huge bonfires are lit on street corners at the crossroads. Usually this is a community celebration and people gather near the fire to fill the air with folk strains and dances. Sheaves of green gram and wheat are roasted in the bonfire and eaten.

The actual festival of Holi takes place the day after this. This day is called `Parva`. Children, friends and neighbours gather on the streets and a riot of colour takes over. Coloured powders called `abeer` or `gulal` are thrown into the air and smeared on faces and bodies. `Pichkaris` are filled with coloured water and this is spurted onto people. Water balloons are thrown at friends and neighbours in the spirit of fun. Sometimes, mud baths are prepared and people are `dunked` into this amidst much laughter and teasing.

The visitors carry `abeer` or `gulal` to pay their respects to elders by sprinkling some on their feet. The younger crowd is drenched with buckets of coloured water and pummeled with water balloons. `Dholaks` or Indian drums are heard everywhere and the songs of Holi are carried by the voices of these merry-makers. There is no `puja` or worship associated with this festival of colours. Some `gulal` or `abeer` is smeared on the faces of the Gods, especially Krishna and Radha, at the commencement of the festivities.

 



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