Holi 2017 – Monday, March 13
Holi is a festival that is usually celebrated right after winters in Phalgun month of Full Moon day. It is celebrated in the month of March-April. The dates vary every year due to the changing nakshatra in the Hindu calendar which is based on the calculations of solar cycles. This colorful festival is celebrated with much joy and fervor all over the India. The most famous Holi is played in Vrindavan-Mathura regions of the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Out of the famous stories related to Holi the most divine one is related to Lord Krishna & Radha. Lord Krishna the magician has often been portrayed as a naughty prankster in his childhood and a lover-boy in his youth. His beloved Radha and the cowherd girls ‘Gopis’ in general loved him even more for his pranks and teasing Gopi’s. The Holi of Braj is famous all over India for its intimate connection with the divine deities and their love plays. It is said that when Krishna was a young boy, he asked his mother “Yashoda” the reason for his dark color while Radha was so fair. His mother playfully suggested that he should smear color on Radha’s face too and change her complexion to any color he wanted. Captivated by the idea, Krishna proceeded to do so and thus, introduced the play of colors on Holi.
Even today, Holi is one of the most important festival of Braj, where the men of Nandgaon and women of Barsana play the famous ‘latthmar Holi’ in the remembrance of the playful throw of colors by Krishna on ‘Gopis’ and their resistance. The trace of eroticism and romance pervades Holi as depicted in the love plays of Krishna and Radha. In Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul and Barsana, Holi is almost a two-week long festival featuring play of colors, folk songs called ‘Hori’, folk dances such as Raas-Lila, staging and portraying the various aspects of Radha and Krishna’s love.
History Of Holi
There are stories about Krishna spraying colors on Radha and other Gopi’s and smearing their faces with ‘Gulal’ suggesting that Holi is older than the birth of these deities. In Bengal and Orissa, Holi is also celebrated as the birthday of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the famous saint-poet. One of the oldest festivals of India, there have been evidences which suggests that Holi was being celebrated here as a festival since several centuries before Christ. Mahrishi Jamini has mentioned such a festival in his religious works known as ‘Purvamimamsa Sutras’ and ‘Kathaka Grhya Sutra’. The paintings and murali’s on the walls of the ancient temples have captured the scenes of Holi, either based on Radha and Krishna or the royalty.
The 16th century panel found in a temple at Hampi belonging to the days when it was the capital of Vijaynagar Empire showcases beautiful sculptures of Holi in which a royal couple is shown being drenched by the surrounding maids who are sprinkling colored water on them by bamboo syringes known as ‘pichkaris’. Other similar paintings include the 16th century painting of Ahmednagar depicting the theme of Vasanta Ragini or ‘Spring Music’ where the royal couple is depicted sitting on a grand swing while maidens play music and spray colors on them;