Holi is known by so many different names in various regions of India. If the people of West Bengal call it Basantosav, then those from Gujarat call it Dhuleti. Each state or community has a mythological legend which they follow. But passion and fervour with which it is celebrated are the same for all. Colours, sweets, and thandai are enjoyed by everyone in this gorgeous festival.
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Gujarat becomes even more radiant during Holi. People dance and frolic around Holika as they throw corn and coconut into it. The next morning they Holi with each other which they call ‘Dhuleti.’ People also celebrate the harvest of Rabi crop in this festival. There is a ‘MatkiPhor’ contest held in almost every street. Mud pots filled with buttermilk is hung high – the men folk make groups and climb on each other to reach the pot and break it while the women throw coloured water on them and try to stop them from breaking the pot.
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The state of West Bengal refers to Holi as DolJatra or DolPurnima. Small idols of Lord Krishna and Radha are placed on a palanquin and taken around the streets. People take turns and swing the palanquin, the women sing and dance around it while the men throw colours – gulal or abeer and colored water on them. Special food known as ‘Bhog’ is made in a traditional way which is offered to Lord Krishna and Radha and then relished by others.
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The Lath Mar Holi is famous in Barsana here. Women and men gather in the Radha Rani Temple here to celebrate Holi. The women folk beat the men with laths or sticks while chanting and singing songs. In other places of Uttar Pradesh, it is referred to as Holi Milan and friends and families visit each other’s homes to apply colors (abeer/gulal) and exchange sweets and small gifts. This festive mood lasts for about a week here.
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The tranquil and scenic state of Uttarakhand celebrates Holi in their own special way. The main day is called Dhaulendi, but they have variations which they refer to as BaithkiHoli, Khari Holi and Mahila Holi. Baithki translates to a gathering, and according to the locals Holi begins in December on the first, and there are gatherings where people sing songs. A week before Dhaulendi the BaithkiHoli is referred to as KhadiHoli because the women visit different houses and they stand and dance to rejoice the arrival of spring. The women of Kumaon are seen celebrating Holi in the temples and at homes a week before Dhulendi which is known as Mahila Holi. The sing songs dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna and Radha and Lord Ganesh. Holi for the Kumaoni people is music along with colours.
Moments of Holi are meant to be enjoyed together,
So these reminiscences can be savored later.
Such are the memories we should live with each other,
Have a joyful and cheerful Holi forever.