Holi,The Festival of Colours
By March, India witnesses receding winters and the onset of spring which brings with it the festival of colours with another one of India’s colourful, characteristic mythological tales attached to it – the tale of Prahlad and Holika. Holika was the evil aunt of the heaven-sent Prahlad. She had a magical sari which protected her from fire. In an attempt to kill the boy, she took him into her lap and climbed a pyre to make an example of him as a punishment for worshiping the Gods. When the pyre was set ablaze, Prahlad remained intact while Holika’s body went up in flames, a blessing sent down by the gods. Indians celebrate the triumph of good over evil every year by burning the Holi pyre and playing with dry colours by night and continuing the celebration with wet colours the next day.
When and which parts of India celebrate Holi?
The day of Holi is the Phalgun Poornima (full moon) by the Hindu calendar which generally arrives in March, but the exact dates by the Georgian Calender tend to vary. Holi celebrations are pretty much a pan-India phenomenon but it’s a big deal in Andhra Pradesh, Bengal, Varanasi, Mathura-Vrindavan, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and among the Bhils (tribes) of the North West.
How is Holi celebrated in India?
People are extremely enthusiastic about celebrating Holi, especially kids, whom you’ll find filling water balloons from the night before. Pichkaris. gulaal, abeer, thandai, bhang, hot snacks while sunbathing after you’ve played with colour all morning, a few hours in the shower trying to wash it off (yet not completely), the dead sleep and gluttony that follows, all come together to make Holi a rather crazy experience. People often barge into each other’s houses and smear colour on loved ones so that they have no choice but to come outside and be drenched in water and colour to chants of “Bura na maano, Holi Hai!” (Take no offence, it’s Holi!). Temples are all done up and small skits are performed in some places.
Best places to celebrate Holi while in India?
North India is by far the most colourful and exuberant during Holi. Pushkar and Udaipur in Rajasthan and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh are our favourites at India Someday. There’s something special about the way Holi is celebrated in these two holy places that cannot be duplicated anywhere else in India. Other cities where you can be part of the true Holi spirit are Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Mumbai and Delhi.
Precautions while celebrating Holi in India
If you’re a single girl, try to stick around with people you know well and are comfortable with. Don’t venture into public places alone, there are going to be a lot of inebriated men all over the place. You don’t want to have your celebration spoilt by some Roadside Romeos who are high on bhang or alcohol and have no idea what they’re doing. They tend to get aggressive so it’s better to steer clear. If you really want to take a walk, go early in the morning and come back before the celebrations kick in. Other generals precautions are – avoid getting colour into your eyes, drink only as much bhang as you can handle, don’t get high and jeopardize your safety, stick with your friends and be careful of spiked thandai or drinks. All in all if you’re a bit careful you’ll have a great time for sure!