Holi is the festival of colours, an ancient Hindu religious festival which is now celebrated in many parts of India. This festival signifies the victory over evil, the arrival of spring and the end of the winter. It’s a night and day festival. We also call it as Holi Hunnime or Purnima i.e Full Moon day in March.
The first evening is for Kamanna (Kamadev) Dahana or Holika Dahana (Burning of evil) as called differently in a different part of India and the following day is playing of colours called Holi. There is different folklore behind this festival depending on the belief, set of area and people. Holi is also called “festival of love” for the people who follow Deity Krishna and celebrate it as a remembrance of Divine Love of Radha for Krishna. Holika Dahan for the following the story of Vishnu Bhakth (devotee) Prahlada and King Hiranyakashipu. Kamadev Dahana for the people following God Shiv and the story of Kamadev shooting an arrow at meditating God Shiv.
There is a custom of robbing woods and things related to making bonfire by a street young bunch of people who organise the bonfire activity on behalf of a particular area. The act of robbery is merely for fun, no offence. In the evening, People gather together, put bonfire placing the handmade Kamanna (Demon name) made out of clothes and crackers inside it and pray for burning of internal evil and bad habits the way it burned the demon.
The next morning is colourful Holi, playing with colours, putting on each other, drenching in the colourful water in an open space or at the specified area like park or playground. Everyone play Holi together as one.
Any festival is incomplete without the feast of foods. After playing colours for hours, people freshen up, put up a new dress and visit friends and family and share foods and sweets.
Recalling my childhood, I truly had a good reflection of this festival as staying near the north part of Karnataka where people celebrate this festival with full zoom. We used to play colours till the sun hit our head and so many colours on the face that hardly our parents can recognise us! The colour would go only after a week of a rigorous bath. More colours on the face to the next day of school is a prestigious feeling of playing to the content. Anybody felt the same? The bonfire was fun at night. Running and circling the fire singing song in group and dancing together is only memory now. I cherish my childhood days staying in Dandeli and being part of Navodaya school! I really miss those days. Memory is a treasure. Isn’t it?
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