Holi

Holi is a religious festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. Holi got its name from the legend of Holika is celebrated for two days.

Updated: January 12, 2019

Holi is a religious festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world. Holi got its name from the legend of Holika is celebrated for two days. The first day is known as Jalanewali Holi, the day when Holi bonfire is done. This day is also known as Chhoti Holi which literally means small Holi and Holika Dahan. Holika Dahan is referred to Kama Dahanam in South India. The second day is known as Rangwali Holi, the day when people play with colored powder and colored water. Rangwali Holi, also known as Dhulandi or Dhulendi is main Holi day. On first day bonfires are lit after sunset at Holika Dahan Muhurta. Next day in the morning after Holika Dahan or Holi bonfire, people play Holi with dry and wet colors. People are more willing and comfortable to play Holi with dry colored powders which are known as Gulal. However, more enthusiastic Holi folk play with wet color. They mix dry colored powder in full bucket of water to drench complete body in wet color
Holi is the time to forgive and forget old enmities. Holi is not only a social event but also it has its religious significance. The Phalguna Purnima day is the first day of Holi as per Hindu lunar calendar. The second day of Holi always follows the first day. The preparation of Holi begins eight days before of the first Holi day. This day is known as Holashtak) and begins on Phalguna Ashtami during Shukla Paksha.  Most temples in Mathura and Vrindavan organize Holi events during these eight days of Holashtak.

Holika Dahan is a community event which is performed at streets and roads junction when people burn Demoness Holika symbolically in huge bonfire.
Many people avoid products which are made of chemicals as a result of public awareness on harmful effects of chemicals and their hazards on human life. Since Vedic time people were playing Holi with herbal colors. Most temples in Braj region use natural color to play Holi. Tesu is one of the most commonly used flowers to create natural color. Tesu is the Kesar color flower of Palash tree whose parts are used in various products and herbal medicines. Most importantly it is popularly known for its flowers which are used to extract yellow color during Holi.

It is believed that Lord Krishna used to play Holi with Tesu flowers and hence most Krishna temples in Mathura and Vrindavan use them to play Holi. Tesu flowers are soaked in warm water one day before of Holi. On the next day the concoction is used to play Holi. Usually, the rose water, Chandan, Kesar and scents are added to the concoction. 

The world famous Lathmar Holi at Mathura is played in Barsana which is remote satellite town of Mathura. Women folks try to protect themselves and symbolically beat men with wooden sticks to resist any attempt to smear them with wet and dried colors during Lathmar Holi. 

It is believed to be the most ancient way to play Holi started in the time of Lord Krishna. As per Hindu mythology Lord Krishna and His troop used to visit Barsana, the place that belongs to Radha to play Holi with Radha and Gopis. This tradition of playing Holi between both towns is still kept alive by these village folks. As per tradition Gulal, is sent to Nandgaon by people of Barsana as an invitation to visit and play Holi with the female folks of Barsana. The invitation is send on the first day of Holashtak and on the next day men folks of Nandgaon visit Barsana to play Lathmar Holi.

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