Colours, flowers, mud, turmeric & folk tunes: Know how different parts of India celebrate Holi!

Colours, flowers, mud, turmeric & folk tunes: Know how different parts of India celebrate Holi!

Dive into India's diverse Holi celebrations!

Holi is right around the corner soooo let's talk colours, celebrations and charisma!

In part two of this article, we pick more states from across the country to explore how beautifully different their form of Holikotsav or Dhulendi is! Here's to discovering who celebrates the festival of colours with what — flowers, mud, turmeric, folk tunes or lathi?

Manjal Kuli of Kerala 

Who said South India doesn't indulge in an extravagant Holi?!

People of Kerala immerse themselves in their form of Holi called Manjal Kuli. A festival of the communities of Kudumbi and Konkani, the version revolves around traditional music and dancing, with water colours containing turmeric, and songs of devotion to Krishna.

Royal Holi of Rajasthan 

Distinct Holikotsav celebrations take place in various cities of Rajasthan and they symbolise nothing but grandeur and royalty. Befitting the erstwhile princely states, the Royal or Shahi Holi in Jodhpur, Jaipur, Pushkar and Udaipur feature bonfires, royal bands, decorated horses and elephants and more.

In Jaipur, especially, Holi is also synonymous with the Elephant Festival - a regal parade showcasing the majestic animals. In Bharatpur, localites dress up as Krishna and women as Gopis partake in the legendary Rasleela dance on numerous stage.

Phaguwa of Bihar

Much like the Holi of Uttar Pradesh, Phaguwa is the local name of Holikotsav in Bihar. Beginning with Holika Dahan and featuring traditional sweets and songs, a blend of dry and wet abeer and joy in the air, Phaguwa also marks the arrival of Spring.

Like UP, a significant part of the celebrations here is bhaang and other intoxicating beverages. Oh, also, there's mud play involved!

Phakuwah of Assam 

Holi in Assam is known by numerous synonyms - Phakuwa, Falgutsav, Doul Yatra or the festival of colour and happiness! The name 'Falgutsav' comes from Phaguna, the month during which the festival is observed.

It is associated with Satras of Barpeta, where the image of Lord Krishna (or Dol-Govinda) is carried seven times around the holy fire, while the version of Holika Dahan here is the tradition of burning clay huts, playing with colours remains constant. On the final or third day of Holi, this image is transferred from the temple to the streets as idols are carried in a procession (Doul Yatra) to nearby areas.

As the procession returns, people begin playing with colours in a sort of a mock fight and the image goes back to its initial place.

Khadi Holi of Uttarakhand

Kahila Holi or Khadi Holi: a Holi that is sung ... yep, you read that right!

Losing oneself to the beats of semi-classical ragas where the main 'Holyar' sings 'Mukhda' of Holi, followed by its reverberations in the voices of other Holyars, accompanied by drum beats and music of horns, the tilak of abeer-gulal, and more — now that's a celebration to remember. Observed in Uttarakhand's Kumaon region, the Khadi Holi of the mountains is historically and culturally significant and also signifies the end of winters in the hills and the onset of sowing season.

Starting on the day of Basant Panchami, the festival spans over two months.

Shigmo of Goa

A resplendent explosion of culture and colours, the Shigmo Festival is probably one of the most unique ways of celebrating Holi. Spanning 14 days, the Goan fest attracts crowds for afar. It is a tribute to fighters as they returned home after overturning invaders during Dusshera but also is in sync with the social thread of the society. Extravagant parades occupy the streets of Goa as hueful processions engulf mythological characters from Hindu epics, but also depict the common man.

Elements like the 'Ghode Morni' or horse dance, pop folk dance 'Romtamel' and other larger-than-life cultural practises make Shigmo festival stand out.

Dhulandi Holi of Haryana

Playful and full of shenanigans, Haryana's Dhulandi Holi involves the devar-bhabhi duo where the sisters-in-law pull pranks on the other party! On the day, bhabhis get the social sanction of playfully beating their devars (like Lathmar Holi) and avenge pranks devars pulled on them for a whole year.

Other than this tradition, Dhulandi Holi also involves practice of 'matthi-tod' or breaking of dahi handis/pots dangling high from the street. Participants form a human pyramid and after smashing the pot, proceed with playing colours.

Colours, flowers, mud, turmeric & folk tunes: Know how different parts of India celebrate Holi!
From Yaosang to Dola Purnima, explore various types of Holi celebrations across India!

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