Holi is a festival of color and is celebrated all over India. It is also celebrated by Indians residing out of India. This festival comes on the full moon day of ‘phagun’ – a Hindu month. This year the festival of Holi will be celebrated on March07 and 08 2012. Everywhere, people – young or old are drenched with different colors and water. There are balloons of colored water bursting and long ‘pichkaris’ squirting colored water. People in small groups are seen singing, dancing and throwing colors on each other.
The colorful 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 colored 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.
Celebrations by Royals
On this day even the royals of Rajasthan don a festive spirit and mingle with the commoners. In fact, royal courts all over North India have refined the festival into an art. Rajput warriors of the Rajasthani courts used to show off their equestrian skills during the festival. Rajput men would ride their steeds through the white and pink clouds of color, throwing color powders on each other. Even the members of the royal families are not immune from being drenched by color.
The Brij Festival is held in honor of Lord Krishna a few days before Holi, in the month of March. The festival is marked by verve and zest. Villagers, in gay, multi hued attire, can be seen singing and performing the raslila depicting the immortal love-story of Radha and Krishna.
Folk Traditions in Rajasthan
Mali Holi : The colorful festival of Holi is played in many different ways. This celebration has a unique style where the men color the women with water and women retaliate by hitting them with sticks or long pieces of cloth.
Gair at Godaji: Men from 12 villages collect 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: InBikaner district, several 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.
This festival brings new hope for all the people as it marks the end of chilled winter days and the beginning of the summer. People forget their enmity and throw away their worries. Every nook and corner presents a colorful sight.