Saturday, March 19, 2011

A write-up on Holi as flashed on the f.b . on March 16,2011.

Bishwa Nath Singh

Wherever one will visit to any part of India during this period of time, he/she is bound feel tinge of Holi celebration. It begins right from a week earlier than the actual date of Holi that falls on the 20th of March 2011 during this calendar year. A new annual calendar for Hindu begins after Holi is over .Let us examine legend behind Holi celebration in India!


( Photo of Holi Scene in which two girls are envying to smear Gulal on the face of each other)


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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Holi- the festival of colors is one of the most important and the oldest festival in India that falls on March 20,2011 has started celebrated with gaiety and fervor from a week earlier. The depictions of the festival are visible in n...umerous Hindu religious scriptures and sculpture on walls of old temples and caves. There are paintings, showcasing the Holi celebration of Lord Krishna and Radha. Whatever the scene and the theme, colors and mythology have always been an important part of these Holi depictions. There are several legends on Holi which find mentions in Hindu mythology. Holi is regarded to be the opening festival of the Hindu calendar. The famous stories or sagas related to this festival are stated below: (1) Legend of Radha-Krishna: Lord Krishna, being the mischievous child of Yashuda, was a prankster and was also the creator of many legends for himself. He once asked his mother - why is Radha fair and I am Dark? Mother Yashuda replied to him saying – If you are so much jealous of Radha’s color than go and put dark colors on her and she will also turn dark as you so. Lord Krishna went ahead and did the same. Since then each lover usually puts color on his/her beloved to pay homage to Lord Krishna.(2) Legend on Pootana: When the female demoness called Pootana tried to kill boy Krishna, by giving him her poisoned nipples to suckle. The miracle boy Krishna is said to have sucked her nipples so intensely that he drained the demo ness of her life. Hence, the biggest celebration of Holi takes place at Mathura where this incident happened with Krishna. After the death of demo ness Pootana, people of Mathura till date celebrates this festival in the evening by lighting bourn fire. (3)Legends of king Hiranyakashyapu: Hiranyakashyapu was the strongest demon of his times; he was considered to be the winner of all God’s whomsoever he fought with became a loser at the end of the battle. So he ordered everybody that everybody should obey him and worship him instead of Almighty. He in his family had one sister named Hollika and one son named Pralhad, who was a great devotee of Lord Naarayana. However, Pralhad had disobeyed his father’s order of treating Lord Naarayana as God. Thus, Hiranyakashyapu discussed this matter with her sister who had the boon granted to her that; Fire will not do any harm to her body no matter what the situation is. Latter, she took the responsibility to burn Pralhad by placing him on her legs and sitting on fire. She did exactly the same and guess what? Prahalad came out from the fire unharmed. As ‘he’ had his faith on God he continuously chanted Vishnu mantras instead fire catch hold of Holika who was granted the so called boon. Since that day people light bourn fire in temples and celebrate Holi on the death of the demo ness. Brij Ki Holi / Lath Mar Holi: are very famous . Two towns (Mathura and Vrindavan) namely Nandagow (where Lord Krishna grew up) and Barsana (where Shri Radha grew up), near Mathura, are considered till today as the epicenter of the Holi celebrations. In India it is famously known as Vraj Ki Holi / Lath Mar Holi. While Lord Krishna was growing up in Vraj, he popularized the festival with his pranks. Where he played Holi with Gopies of Vraj and they also responded him with equal enthusiasm and the festivities have continued ever since. So, continuing this ritual Men and Women of Vraj even today clash in a colorful display of battle of the sexes. Men of Nandagow raid Barsana with hopes of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji's temple. They receive a thunderous welcome as the women of Barsana greet them with long wooden sticks. The men are soundly beaten as they attempt to rush through town to reach the relative safety of Shri Radhikaji's temple. Men are well padded, as they are not allowed to retaliate. In this mock battle the men try their best not to be captured. Unlucky captives can be forcefully lead away, thrashed and dressed in female attire before being made to dance as a custom. This type of Holi is famously known as “Lath Mar Holi”!! Holi symbolizes the victory of good over evil.. The Holi of Mathura and Vrindavan region, are very famous because it the place where Krishna was born and spend his childhood days.People from all corners of India, rather, a representation of the world presenting look of a mini world gather at Mathura-Vrindavan every year to feel the essence of Holi in the land of Krishna. People relive the legends of Holi associated with Radha and Krishna and play pranks the young Krishna played with the cowgirls called gopis. The underlying feeling of this fun-frolic was love and devotion. Even today, romance can be experienced in the very atmosphere in the Krishna’s abode One just needs to breathe in this air and drench oneself in the feeling of love and romance. Myriad colours of Holi are simply a facade on this.Holi celebrations Continues for a Week because of an immensely strong bondage with Lord Krishna.The people of Mathura and Vrindavan celebrate Holi for over a week. Each major Krishna temple celebrates Holi on a different day.Of immense interest for the tourist is the celebrations which take place at the famous Bankey-Bihari Temple at Vrindavan. Drenched in the colours of Holi people can be found totally immersed in the spirit of devotion here.Another interesting place for Holi celebrations is Gulal-Kund in Braj; a beautiful little lake near Govardhan mountain. Here, the festival is commemorated on a more regular basis. Pilgrims can see the re-enactments of Holi throughout the year at this lake. Local boys, acting in the Krishna-Lila drama troupes re-enact the scenes of Holi for the pilgrims. So much is the passion of the people here, that they throng these temples every day and get drenched in coloured water…all in the name of the Lord they love so much.Holi in Barsana is also very famous in India.Holi of Barsana, the birthplace of Radha, a village, forty two kms away from Mathura, is of particular interest. Here, men from Nandgaon, the land of Krishna come to play Holi with the girls of Barsana and hope of raising their flag over Shri Radhikaji’s temple. But, instead of colours they are greeted with sticks by the gopis. Hence, the Holi get its new name here-Lathmaar Holi.Smart enough, men come fully padded as they are fully aware what kind of welcome awaits them and also the fact that they are not allowed to retaliate on that day.In this mock battle of sorts, they try their best not to be captured. The unlucky one’s however, are forcefully led away and get a good thrashing from the women. Further, they are made to wear a female attire and dance in public. All in the spirit of Holi.Renowned poets like Surdas, Nand-das, Kumbhan-das and others have picturesquely described how Lord Krishna received similar treatment and was forced to don a sari and wear make-up and perform dance before being released by the gopies.The next day, it is the turn of men of Barsana. They reciprocate by invading Nandgaon and drench the womenfolk of Nandgaon in colours full of bucket filled with solution made in fresh water with the orange-red dye and Palash. Today, the women of Nandagawn beat the invaders from Barsana. It is a colorful site. However, in the interest of tourism and safety, the state tourist board has set up excellent vantage points for the public. A large open ground, on the outskirts of the town is specially set aside for the most magnificent display of the festivities. The week long Holi celebrations also continue in the various Krishna temples on different days. The celebrations are filled with clouds of colors and of course with much fun.


Bharti Khatri :
Thansk I will celebrate Holi in Los angeles its much cheaper then to fly to India- I hope you agree?


March 16,2011.

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