Holi Festival in India has a special place among other festivals and can definitely be rated as the most vibrant of all festivals celebrated in India. The festival is celebrated with so much fervour and enthusiasm that the very word “Holi” has become a synonym of carefree fun and frolic in the country. To top it all, the Holi festival also marks the beginning of spring, the season that brings joy and hope. This year holi festival will come on 21-Mar-2019. There are many festivals that you can be a part of in Delhi. Most of them are paid and provide you a perfectly safe environment to get involved into the spirit of the festival. There is music, drinks and food too. Some of them are listed below:
- Holi Blast 4.0: Smokin Aces is bringing India’s biggest HOLI BLAST this year which is happening at KALAGRAM located inside the famous GARDEN OF FIVE SENSES, SAKET, NEW DELHI. Its one of the biggest holi festival in Delhi. Last year Holi Blast was a huge success attracting over 4,000 attendees. Gates open at 9:30 AM and the festival runs from 10AM to 10PM. There are 3 stages with 12 hour non-stop music from Celebrity DJ’s. There are also Organic Colours, Water Guns, Camel Rides, Rain Dance, Food Stalls, WiFi, Mobile Charging stations etc. There are two types of tickets, GENERAL PASS which is INR2500 and VIP Pass which is INR6000. VIP Pass comes with Unlimited drinks and Snacks. At the time of making payment if you use Coupon Code as HOLI20 you can get 20% discount. Tickets can be purchased from https://www.townscript.com/e/holiblast
- Holi Moo Festival: This is a new entrant in the Delhi Holi Scene. You can get all the details from their website http://www.holimoofestival.com/. The locations picked up by them are great. This year they are choosing Asiad Village, which is close to Hauz Khas Metro Station. The current price is INR3500 per person. On their website there is an email and contact number that can be contacted to enquire more.
Mythology behind Holi festival:
Mythology has an important place in narrating the origin of the Holi festival. It being one of the oldest festivals in India, has a number of stories associated with it and most of them differ in nature and content as one moves across the various states of the country. Here are the two most famous of them:
- The victory of good over evil: Holi is believed to have derived its name from Holika, Demon King Hiranyakashyap’s sister who had a boon of being fireproof. Hiranyakashyap wanted to end his blessed son called Prahlad who was a devout believer of Lord Vishnu, the caretaker Hindu God. Hiranyakashyap (the demon king) decided to burn his son alive by asking Holika, his sister, to enter fire taking Prahlad (his son) in her lap. However, Holika got burnt in the fire and Prahlad came out unscathed.
- The story of Radha and Krishna: Closely linked with this festival is the story of the divine couple of Radha and Krishna, the dark complexioned Hindu God. It is said that Krishna was jealous of Radha’s fair complexion and had mischievously put color on her face on this day. Since then, lovers long to color their beloved’s face on this day.
Practing and Playing on Holi Festival:
Holi festival is essentially a festival of colors and the most common practice is of splashing colors on others. People move around jovially with smeared and strangely colored faces. However, the content of Holi celebrations varies across the length and breadth of the country. Depending on the type of celebrations that you wish to witness, there are several places to be at during Holi festival time. Here are few of them:
- Mathura and Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh: Mathura is known for its traditional holi as it is also the birthplace of Lord Krishna. He spent his childhood in Vrindavan. This place remains immersed in Holi celebrations for full 40 days before the main day of Holi. Troupes arrive in the city from various parts of the country and carry out stage shows depicting “Raasleela” or Lord Krishna’s flirtatious activities with the village maidens. Holi at Barsana, a village close to Mathura, is another treat to watch. Legend has it that Krishna went to his beloved Radha’s village to tease her and her friends. Taking offense of this, the women at Barsana chased him away with “latths” or sticks. Since then, men from Nandgaon, Krishna’s village visit Radha’s village Barsana singing provocatively to tease the women and women of Barsana beat them with sticks. This kind of celebrations eventually came to be known as “Lattha maar Holi”. The entire drama can be witnessed at the Radha Rani temple in Barsana.
- Delhi: Holi at Delhi is celebrated in a modern way. Since Delhi happens to be a city where people from all over the nation have come and settled, Holi here is a rowdy affair. If you happen to pass by Paharganj, a commercial suburb of Delhi be ready to be bathed in colors by the local shopkeepers. The Holi Blast and Holi Moo festivals are festival of music and madness and are held within Delhi city. Here you can be sure that they are using only non toxic colors. People drink “Bhaang”, an intoxicating drink made from Cannabis, which is typical to this festival. The music is brought by DJs and bands that perform here.
- Shantiniketan, West Bengal: Rabindranath Tagore, the famous poet and Nobel Laureate started the celebration of Holi as “Vasant Utsav” or “The Spring Festival”. This was introduced as an annual event in the Vishwa Bharati University. This event is marked with dressing up in spring colors and cultural programs that include dances to Tagore’s songs and traditional throwing of colors. Vasanta Utsav has become a treasured part of the history of the state of West Bengal and attracts a number of tourists.
- Purulia, West Bengal: This place is known for its Folk Holi.The three day festival affords and opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of folk art. One gets to sing and dance with the locals. The folk art includes dance forms such as Chau, Darbari Jhumur, Natua and compositions of Baul musicians, the wanderers of West Bengal. The festival is held at a place around 5-6 hrs by train from Kolkata, the state’s capital.
- Holi in Rajasthan: An elephant festival is held every year at Jaipur on the eve of Holi. Elephant beauty contest, parades and a tug of war between elephants makes the event all the more fun. The tribals of Banswara celebrate Holi as their main festival. They dress up traditionally, carry swords and sticks and perform the Gair, a typical tribal dance.
Annoyances of Holi Festival in India:
The festival is all good till it is celebrated in the true spirit of enthusiasm and tradition. However, a number of times the Holi festival gets marred by malpractices by the mischievous elements in the society. Here are a few things to beware of while celebrating Holi festival in India:
- Toxic colors: A number of times, the urge to earn more by the sale of cheap colors entices the shopkeepers into using toxic chemicals in the colors without paying any heed to the harm that it can do to the skin.
- Use of paint and permanent colors: Out of sheer enthusiasm, a number of people use paint instead of organic colors to have a long lasting effect on the person it is being used on.
- Splashing colors on vehicles and passersby: Another practice is of splashing colors on vehicles and pedistrians. If you plan to come out on the streets on the day of Holi, be sure to wear clothes that you do not mind spoiling with color. Also, while moving on a two wheeler, be conscious of any water wave hitting you and drenching you in water.
- Bhaang: Another thing to beware of is excess intake of bhaang, a drink made from Cannabis. It is customary to have bhaang on Holi, however, overdose of it can have serious consequences. Out of exuberance, people tend to mix it in food that gives unexpected results that can sometimes be fatal too.
- Eveteasing and hooliganism: A direct fall out of intoxication is eve teasing and boorish behaviour by people. Over the ages, people have taken it for granted that anything can be done in the name of spirit of Holi on the pretext that it is a festival of joy when you can let your hair down. This results in some miscreants going over the board and indulging in eve teasing. Below are the faces of typical Hooligans which you need to beware of.
Holi festival in India brings about colorful days, solemn rituals and joyful celebrations. On this day, people throng to the streets and smear each other with colours, forgetting the cliched distinctions of caste, color, creed and sex. The festival marks a spirit of oneness and solidarity. The places mentioned in this article are a must visit on Holi festival day to take in the true aroma of a country as colorful and varied as India.