Holi is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm throughout the country. The wave of joy and verve fills the entire atmosphere. Not only the season starts draping a colorful and floral spirit of spring but the enthusiasm of the people towards this festival also brings colorfulness to the life of every creature in the atmosphere. The preparation of the festival also begins months before the actual celebrations and by the time of its arrival, the aroma of scrumptious dishes arouses the completely festive side of an individual. Though the festival is being celebrated in the country since time immemorial, it is waited every year with a new zeal and fervor. After all this is the only Indian festival with lots of scope for hullabaloo and enjoyment of the hidden crazy self.
Though the festival is a completely enjoyable and 'happy go lucky' kind of festival, it is the rituals of the festival that give a completely new definition to it. As the festival is being celebrated here since time immemorial, the rituals are also being practiced since then. These rituals are the reflection of the eternal spirit of Holi celebrations. These rituals remind people of the eternal Holi messages and commemorate the culture and traditions that have been defined by our ancestors. These rituals are religiously followed every year with care and enthusiasm throughout the country.
Customs & Tradition
Days before the actual festival begins, people start preparing for various rituals and customs. The gathering of wooden logs at the intersection points of two roads (choraha) and the preparation of scrumptious snacks recipes at the home all form vital part of the Holi rituals, which we have discussed in detail below. Though the rituals may vary a little from place to place, over all spirit of the festival remains the same every where.
Holika Dahan Celebrations
At the eve of Holi, the ritual of Holika Dahan takes place. It is actually the burning of the effigy of the devil sister of demon King Hiranyakashyap who tried to kill the devotee of Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakashyap's son Prahlad. Theis ritual marks the beginning of holi celebrations. This also symbolizes the victory of good over evil and also the victory of a true devotee. It is also known as Holi Bonfire.
Play of Colors
On the day of Holi, there is no ritual of Puja ceremony in the morning. However, the lot of enthusiasm and fun as very early in the morning the color play begins in the surroundings. People enthusiastically drench each other into water and colors. Some people also use color filled balloons and sprayers on the occasion to spray colors on others.
In Mathura and Vridavana as well as the area near them, there is a unique ceremony called Matka ceremony. Though this ceremony was earlier exclusive of the Braj area, thanks to Bollywood it has become a trend all over the country. In the Matka ceremony, a big earthen pot of butter milk is tied at an unreachable height and then boys form human pyramid to reach up to the pot and break it. The women of the society then make ropes out of their sari and hit these guys from the roof top so that they become unsuccessful in their attempt. Along with this goes simultaneous color play and teasing.
Holi Procession is taken out in most of the Indian states on the occasion of Holi. In this procession, guys who are badly drenched in colors roam around their colonies and stop to sing Holi songs at every house. They are then gifted Gujiya and Thandai at each door and the procession thus move forward to other places.