Holi, also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu festival celebrated in India.Â ‘Holi’ falls on the full moon, in the month of Phalgun, which spans the end of February and the beginning of March on the calendar. This year(2010) Holi falls on 1st March.
History About Holi
The legend of King Hiranyakashipu is associated with the festival of Holi. This legend signifies the victory of good over evil, of devotion surpassing ambition.
The proud King was enraged by Prahlad’s (his son) disobedience and decided to punish him severely. He asked his sister Holika for help. It was believed that Holika was immune to fire and would never be burnt, so the King asked Holika to sit in the centre of a bonfire with Prahlad on her lap, so that the fire could devour him. The bonfire was lit, and young Prahlad sat in Holika’s lap, in its centre, praying to Lord Vishnu.
His devotion saved him, leaving him untouched by the flames, but Holika was burnt to ashes. To mark this legend, huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Holi.
Holi Celebration in Rajasthan
The colourful state of Rajasthan plays Holi much the same way as Mathura. A night before the full moon, crowds of people gather together and light huge bonfires to burn the residual dried leaves and twigs of the winter. People throw coloured water and powders (gulal and kumkum) at each other and make merry. Singing, dancing and the traditional beats of dhol add to the gaiety of the occasion.
Folk Traditions on HolyÂ in Rajasthan
Mali Holi :
The colourful festival of Holi is played in many different ways. The ‘mali’ or gardener community of Rajasthan has a unique style where the men colour the women with water and women retaliate by hitting them with sticks or long pieces of cloth
Gair at Godaji:
Men from 12 villages collects at Godaji village near Ajmer in Rajasthan to play gair a few days after holi. Each village brings his own drummer and gair troupes. The picturesque location for it is a valley surrounded by hills on all sides. Thousands of onlookers and close to hundred players make a wonderful sight and a fond memory.
Dolchi Holi at Bikaner:
In Bikaner district, members ofÂ ‘Vyas’ communities have been celebrating Holi by throwing water at one another with force for the past more than 300 years. A specially designed vessel called ‘dolchi’ made from camel skin is used for the purpose. But the water is thrown only at the back of an individual.
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Image Source – Wikipedia