Festival of colours…. Holi

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March bring along the announcement of a very beloved and colorful festival of HOLI. This also marks as the end of winters for me. The feel is so lighter, minus the heavy sweaters n jackets in winter. I have already put in all my winter wear in the loft and the summer collection is out for the season. Also with the spring season going on, the surroundings are so full of colorful flowers blooming around. I find more birds flying above and the noisy kids are back playing in the evening. So the whole atmosphere brings lots of emotions, positivity and  color in life.. It also gives me a reason to be with my family and spend the festivities with them. Moreover, one more reason to click lots of photos and selfies.

Holi is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun which is the month of March. 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. It is the right time to convey the message of love, trust and brotherhood and  at the same time, the time for strengthening the bond of love & friendship.

Holika dhahan

In india, I have observed that, behind every ritual or festival, big or small, there is a specific legend or story to be told. So with Holi also, there is a legend behind, which I am listening since I was a child. My grandmother used to tell me and in my school also there was a chapter on it, which signifies the win of good over evil. Holika, the devil minded sister of demon King Hiranyakashyap tried to kill Hiranyakashyap’s son Prahlad, an ardent devotee of Lord Naarayana. Holika had a boon, whereby, she could enter the fire unscathed. Treacherously, Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and she herself took her seat in a blazing fire. The legend has it that Holika had to pay the price of her sinister desire by her life. Holika was not aware that the boon worked only when she entered the fire alone. Prahlad, who kept chanting the name of Lord Naarayana all this while, came out unharmed, as the lord blessed him for his extreme devotion. Thus, Holi derives its name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil and also the triumph of a true devotee.

Days before the festival, people start gathering wood for the lighting of the bonfire called Holika at the major crossroads of the city. This ensures that at the time of the actual celebration a huge pile of wood is collected. Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a holika bonfire where people gather, sing, dance and party.  Effigies of Holika are burnt in the huge bonfires that are lit. Even we use to attend such gatherings. We use to bring a small fire and burnt it in our house with wood and shout ‘holi- hai’. It is believed that by following this custom our home will be rendered pure and our bodies will be free from disease.

Hindus perform rituals around a bonfire during celebrations in Ahmadabad, India. (Ajit Solanki/Associated Press)

Legend of Radha-krishna

Young Krishna is known to be very playful and mischievous. The story goes that as a child, Krishna was extremely jealous of Radha’s fair complexion since he himself was very dark. So one day, Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about the injustice of nature. To pacify the crying young Krishna, the mother asked him to go and colour Radha’s face in whichever colour he wanted. In a mischievous mood, naughty Krishna heeded the advice of mother Yashoda and applied colour on her beloved Radha’s face; Making her one like himself. Somehow, the lovable prank of Krishna where he applied colour on Radha and other gopis using water jets called pichkaris gained acceptance and popularity. So much so that it evolved as a tradition and later, a full-fledged festival. Till date, use of colours and pichkaris is rampant in Holi. People apply colour on their beloveds face and express their affection for each other.This legend is wonderfully brought alive each year all over India, particularly in Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Nandgaon-the places associated with Krishna and Radha. In fact, the entire country gets drenched in the colour waters when it is time for Holi and celebrate the immortal love of Krishna and Radha.

Last year my dear friend, Abhinav, went to capture the mesmerising event of ‘braj ki holi’. With his awesome photography skills , he was able to encapsulate the wonderful colors of incredible Mathura and vrindavan. He captivated all of us with his stills. Without attending , I was able to take the feel of the holiness of the place. Thank you so much buddy and I am so proud of you. Keep doing the good work and I am waiting for this year stills.

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Color playing

Next day, is of course the main day of Holi celebrations. The day is called Dhulandi and it is on this day that the actual play of colours take place.This morning is a free-for-all carnival of colors where people play, chase and color each other with dry powder and colored water, with some carrying water guns and colored water-filled balloons for their water fight. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings. People visit family, friends and foes to throw colour powders on each other, laugh and gossip, then share Holi delicacies, food and drinks.

So if you are planning to play host this Holi, there is no need for stress; all you need is a little planning and a few easy tips to ensure your guests and you have a great time.

Dos and Don’ts for Holi bash at home

Whenever I plan a party, be it any party, there are always some do’s and don’ts to make it successful. I always keep the taste of the guests in mind while planning everything. As its a holi party, all age groups of people will be coming to my home. So I have to make sure of the holi playing area in the house. Some of them would like to play wet holi, while others would like to play with dry colors only. So I will have to make arrangements for such choices. Also I have to look into delicacies, water arrangements and also I have to give the place a feel of the festival. With these things in mind, I have worked on certain points which I will try to incorporate on that day. Lets take a look.

Dos for Holi bash at home
– I will make an arrangement of spacious open area in my home to play holi with my loved ones without any restrain.
– I plan to cover the floor with some synthetic and washable rugs and mats so that they absorb the color and prevent staining of flooring in case someone drops the colour in the house.
–  I wish to make sitting arrangements outside with colorful sheets and lots of colorful cushions. It will give the place a colorful vibe. I believe the guests should get the feel of the surroundings and event with the decor.

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-Whenever I organize any dinner or lunch, apart from the decor, food is very important. I have realized a very important fact that a party is only successful if the guests enjoy the food. So for this also, I have to set the menu in an intelligent manner which people can enjoy eating while playing. I have not thought over the complete menu but plans to make something sweet as well as spicy.

-Next in line is my earthenware. I have to chose my crokery very carefully, to prevent it from getting damaged with color or broken. So mostly, I will go with beautiful disposable dishes and glasses. They will give color also to the complete getup and I don’t have to worry about my crokery as well.

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If someone is planning for some shots, there are beautiful colorful shots glasses available.

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For water or drinks, instead of regular bottles, I have planned to put colorful bottles. Even the plain water will seem to be colorful.

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-Although in my every party, props are always there but I feel that might be the guests feel bored with the same props again n again, so what I am thinking is that, I will keep the props but very festival specific. There are certain caps and glasses are available in the local market for holi.

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-Make arrangements for the colors as well as pichkaries and water to play.

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– Turn on your geyser to get running hot water so that your guests can clean themselves.
– Plays some rocking music that would let your guests groove to it include some ever-popular Holi songs

Don’ts for Holi bash at home
– Not to buy chemical colors to play holi as they would cause skin irritation and also render harm to all those places where they would fall. There are organic colors available in the market. I will go with those.,
-Will not over-decorate the home
– Bhang is an important feature of Holi party. It is a preparation of cannabis, traditionally used in food and drink.The buds and leaves of cannabis are ground into a paste. To this mixture, milk, ghee and spices are added. The bhang base is now ready to be made into a heavy drink, Thandai. But if not taken in educate amount, it can have side effects also. So although people enjoy having it, it will be a strict no- no in my party.

With these things in mind I have started making arrangements for my Holi. I hope you guys also enjoy the festival with equal postivity and merriment. Wishing all my readers a very happy and colorful Holi. have a safe Holi.

Happy decorating.

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