In 2020, India celebrated Holi amid the first outbreak of Covid-19. While Holi 2021 would not be any different, India, after a year-long struggle with Covid-19, has now learned the joy of simplicity of celebrations. Avoiding large gatherings of people, wearing face masks, social distancing, and using sanitizing hands and the venue are the new norms that are being observed during Holi.
Holi is a festival of colors celebrated in the Hindu month of Phalgun on the full moon day. It generally falls in March; the corresponding English date can vary each year. The festival celebrates the arrival of Vasant Ritu or the Spring season. Mythologically, it celebrates the victory of good over evil. It is a thanksgiving for an abundant harvest and marks the end of winters and the beginning of warm summers. So, what can you expect during Holi 2021 this year?
Story of Holika
According to the sacred texts of Vishnu Purana, there lived a powerful demon king named Hiranyakashipu who was angry with Lord Vishnu for killing his brother Hiranyaksha. He performed penance to please Lord Bramha and received a boon equivalent to being “almost-immortal.” He ensured that his subjects worshipped him as God. However, his own son Prahlada was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. The father tried to change the son’s mind and when he couldn’t, he eventually decided to get rid of him by killing him. Prahlada survived every attempt on his life. Finally, Hiranyakashipu summoned his sister Holika who had a boon that she cannot be harmed by fire to enter live pyre with his son. Prahlada survived this too while Holika was reduced to ashes. The subjects rejoiced the miracle. Ever since then, the day is celebrated with enthusiasm. Eventually, Hiranyakashipu met his end at the hands of Lord Narsimha – a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The Holi festival is celebrated over 2 days. It starts with a ritual called “Holika-Dahan,” lighting and worshiping of a bonfire post-sunset, and is later followed by playing with abeer-gulal, vibrant colors, and water the next day. Special food like gujia, imrrti, pakodas, malpua, puran poli, dahi wadas, thandai, intoxicating bhaang, and more are shared with friends, family, and “holi ki toli.” Kids pull out their water guns, pichkaris, and balloons filled with colored water and enjoy the “rangon waali holi” or “dhuleti” with dance and music. There are many movie songs dedicated to this festival filled with naughtiness, friendship, and love. With time, people have embraced the idea of “eco-friendly” Holi with non-toxic and homemade colors from turmeric, beetroot, pomegranate peels, heena, and water boiled with marigold, kesu, and parijaat flowers. Smaller bonfires, flower holi, and dry waterless holi are also gaining popularity among the masses.
Festivities Across India
Holi festival is celebrated across the country in different ways:
- Vrindavan - Mathura and places associated with Krishna have celebrations lasting up to a week. The Banke Bihari Temple’s “Phoolon waali holi” is famed far and wide. The festivities celebrate the eternal love of Radha-Krishna and his Raasleela with gopis. The references to the age-old traditions are found in ancient texts, paintings, inscriptions, and scriptures. A human pyramid is formed to reach a pot filled with butter while devotees splash color and water on the participants and each other.
- Barsana – Nandgaon is famous for “Lathmaar Holi” with women giving tough time to men by dragging and dressing them in female attires and beating them up with a stick or a lath.
- Haryana has “Dulandhi Holi” with “bhabhis” taking sweet revenge on their “devars” for their mischiefs.
- Bengal has rather dignified celebrations in for of “Basant Utsav” or “Spring Festival” with prabhat pheris, rangolis, traditional attire, poetry reading, “doli yatra” on “dol purnima” with Radha-Krishna idols placed in palanquin processions.
- Anandpur Sahib, Punjab celebrates it as “Hola Mohalla” a tradition started by Guru Gobind Singh. It is a show of physical strength and military prowess of Sikhs.
- Manipur celebrates the festivities for six days along with “Yaosang.” A special dance called “Thabal Chongba” is associated with the festival.
- Goa celebrates Holi as “Shimgo” or “Rang Panchami” to welcome spring. The Shimgmotav procession carried out in Panjim depicts the stories of the beautiful festival with songs and dance. The date of the celebration may be a little different than the rest of the country.
- Tamil Nadu celebrates Holi as “Kaman Pandigai” or “Kamavilas” or “Kama-Dahanam.” It is believed that Kamdeva was revived on this day after Lord Shiva burnt him down to ashes and Rati prayed to Shiva to bring him back to life.
- Bihar celebrates it as “Phagu Purnima” or “Phagwa” and performs “Samvatsar Dahan” to mark the end of the previous year and the beginning of the new year. The day of celebration could be different in different parts of the state.
- Rajasthan celebrates a day after Holi as the beginning of “Gangaur,” a festival that goes on for 18 days. Married women please Lord Shiva and Goddess Gauri for the long life of their husband while unmarried women pray for a good husband.
Every state, every city, and every village might have a unique and innovative way to celebrate Holi. Thankfully, you can celebrate Holi at any location you’d want across India. Offering the best luxury buses at the lowest price, redBus connects every rural and urban location to each other with ease. Download the redBus app or visit the official website to avail exclusive discounts and cashback offers.
In 2021 Holika Dahan falls on the 28th March, Monday, while Rang Holi will be celebrated on the 29th of March, Tuesday. The temple festival days might vary from place to place.
redBus offers bus services to help you travel to major destinations across the country to enjoy the festivities. Travel in comfort with redBus this Holi 2021 and make this festival a memorable celebration.
Remember to send warm wishes and messages to loved ones this Holi 2021. Spread positivity and love this Holi 2021 with redBus and make sure to follow all Covid-19 precautionery measures. Have a happy Holi!