"Holi kabi hain, Kab hain Holi?" - the iconic, Gabbar Singh’s dialogue from the super hit movie Sholay needs no introduction as we welcome one of the most rollicking and uproarious of all the Indian festivals, this over 41-year-old filmy dialogue find reverberation during 2016 Holi – as there are 2 days (23rd March and 24th March), when the entire India will be celebrating the colourful festival.
The Holi celebrations begin on the last day of Phalgun (winter) and is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra. The most boisterous of Hindu festivals, Holi waves goodbye to winter and welcomes the spring season in a rainbow of colours. The beauty of nature makes this festival colourful.
In India it’s predominantly celebrated in the north of the country, and is quite rightly known as the Festival of Colours for the raucous events on Holi’s final day, when children and adults take to the streets throwing colourful gulal (powder) over each other. People in a happy mood, sprinkle coloured water on another. They smear their faces with coloured powders. Children spray coloured water on the passes-by. A day earlier, people collect sticks and straws lying in streets at a place. At night they gather at that place and set fire to the huge pile of sticks and straws. They sing songs to the accompaniment of drums. They are mad with joy. They break up when the fire fades out.
The lathmaar holi in Barsana or the warrior holi in Punjab, there is the Dol jatra in West Bengal and the Yaosang in Manipur are some of the widely famous forms of the colourful festival.
This year, Vrindavan widows break tradition as they celebrate Holi for the first time at a temple; they were also joined by widows from Varanasi.
It is a spring festival and perhaps the happiest and most colourful religious festival of the Hindus.