India is known for the richness of cultures and traditions. The festivals celebrated throughout the year brings out the beauty of a unified India and its diversities. Unknown to one another, there are many unusual and unique traditions observed that varies from one community to another for the same festival.
Today we are exploring India through the unusual Holi traditions, to enjoy variety. Knowing some interesting facts can make this year’s Holi extra special.
1. Lath Mar Holi
This unusual way of celebrating Holi is observed in Barsana and Nandgaon near Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. During the festival, the men of the village catcall and tease the women to get their attention. The women stay ready with their huge batons (dandas) and beat the men. The men are provided with a shield to defend themselves. This ritual is observed every year with fun and amusement.
2. Basanta Utsav
In major parts of Bengal, Basanta Utsav is observed. This festival has fairly modern roots. It was introduced by Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. In this festival, ‘abeer’ is used without any water. Holi celebration is followed by a cultural festival that includes singing and dancing.
3. Holi Ashes
Though it may seem bizarre for some, this is an age-old tradition that is still followed. In Varanasi, some people use ash from the cremation pyres and add them to gulal. Then they use the mixture to play Holi. It might sound macabre but is a local culture that depicts the gesture towards salvation.
In Manipur, Holi or Yaosang, is celebrated for not just one but six days. The festival of colors is observed by mixing indigenous and Hindu traditions. The celebration also includes folk dance and playing with colors.
In Baldeo town of Uttar Pradesh, people get involved in this unique ritual on the day after Holi. It consists of playfulness and games where the men drench the women with colored water. The women in turn tear off the clothes the men are wearing.
6. Dol Yatra
Yet another tradition from Bengal. This is a peculiar tradition in which idols of Lord Krishna and Radha are placed on swings and then are paraded throughout the locality. The spectators sing religious songs and dance while throwing colored powder called ‘abeer.’
7. Holika Dahan
This tradition is not restricted to one place but observed in many parts of the country. In this, a bonfire is prepared the day before Holi.
8. Hola Mohalla
The blend of cultural and religious traditions in India is not something new. The festival of Hola Mohalla is celebrated by the followers of Sikhism on the day of Holi. This is the day when they showcase their martial skill to everyone in the community. It also includes art display, wrestling, mock-sword fights and more.
9. Elephant Festival
Any guesses where this tradition of Holi is celebrated? It’s in the royal land of Rajasthan. Particularly in ‘pink-city’ Jaipur, people observe this day with different contests where the participants are elephants.
Did we miss any? Let’s know in the comments below.