Mangaluru: Although Holi is not celebrated in a big scale here in the City by Mangalureans, but students and other folks from Northern part of India celebrate it in a grand way, including north Indian students at various Medical, Engineering and others. Most of the businesses run by North Indians are closed, especially in the Bunder and other busy commercial spots in the City. Students at KMC had a blast celebrating Holi at their campus, exchanging colours on each other, and sharing Holi greetings.
Holi is one of the major festival of India and is the most vibrant of all. The joys of Holi knows no bound. The festival is celebrated across the four corners of India or rather across the globe. The festival is filled with so much fun and frolic that the very mention of the word ‘Holi’ draws smile and enthusiasm amongst the people. Holi also celebrates the arrival of Spring, a season of joy and hope.Holi festival may be celebrated with various names and people of different states might be following different traditions. But, what makes Holi so unique and special is the spirit of it which remains the same throughout the country and even across the globe, wherever it is celebrated.
Entire country wears a festive look when it is time for Holi celebration. Market places get abuzz with activity as frenzied shoppers start making preparations for the festival. Heaps of various hues of gulal and abeer can be seen on the roadside days before the festival. Pichkaris in innovative and modern design too come up every year to lure the children who wish to collect them as Holi memorabilia and of course, to drench everybody in the town. According to sources, Holi is considered as one of the oldest festivals of India. There are many interesting stories associated with the festival’s origin as one moves across the different states from North to South and East to West. Paintings and scriptures depict the roots of the festival. Mythology plays a very important part in narrating the festival of Holi. The most popular stories of Holi origin relates to ‘Holika Dahan’ and Legend of Radha-Krishan.
Integrally entwined with Holi, is the tradition of ‘Holika Dahan’, which is actually lighting of bonfires. The ritual is symbolic of victory of good over evil and has its root in the legend of demon king Hiranyakashyap who wished to end his blessed son, Prahlad’s life with the help of his sister, Holika who burnt in the fir and no harm occurred to Prahlad. Since then the day is celebrated in victory of good over bad. The legend of Radha and Krishna is closely linked with this tradition of colors on Holi. Young Krishna, who had a dark complexion was jealous of his beloved Radha’s extremely fair skin. In a mischievous mood, he applied color on Radha’s face. Following this ancient legend, lovers till date long to color their beloved as an expression of love.
Holi is famous as Basant Utsav in rural India. It is one of the major festivals in India and is celebrated with extreme enthusiasm and joy. Gulal, abeer and pichkaris are synonymous with the festival. Elaborate plans are made to color the loved ones. Everybody wants to be the first one to color the other. In the ensuing battle of colors, everybody is drowned not just in colors of gulal but also in love and mirth. People love to drench others and themselves in colored water. Gujiyas and other sweets are offered to everyone who comes across to color.
Temples are beautifully decorated at the time of Holi. Idol of Radha is placed on swings and devotees turn the swings singing devotional Holi songs. Now-a-days small plays are organized reflecting the spirit of the festival.
What is remarkably same across the country is the spirit of Holi. Fun, frolic, boisterousness to the extent of buffoonery marks this festival of colors. What more can be expected- when the people get a social sanction to get intoxicated on the bhang, open not just their hearts’ out but also their lungs. And viola, nobody is expected to take offense too, as the norm of the day is, ‘Bura na mano Holi hai’.
I end this column with altered-lyrics from a rhyming song by English pop group Boney M:
“Well, I’m for the game
Fun is the thing I’m after
Now let’s a’live it up today
Get set for fun and laughter
Well, let’s go
Time isn’t here for wasting
Life is so full of sweet sweet things
I’d like to do some food tasting
Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi-Holi-day
What a world of fun for everyone, holi-holi-day
Hooray! Hooray! It’s A Holi-Holi-day
Sing a summer song, skip along, holi-holi-day
It’s a holi-holi-day”
(With inputs from YahooNews)