The vibrant spring festival is unique as it displays India’s unity in diversity. The huge uniting factors are the colors and goodies – Gulal and Gujiya

Holi, the vibrant spring festival, falls in the month of March. People across the country start looking forward to Holi weeks ahead. Holi is considered as one of the most revered and celebrated festivals of India and it is celebrated in almost every part of the country. We take you through a ride through different Holi celebrations in India.

Holi In Different In Parts Of India

Holi has different names in different parts of the country. In states of north India, it’s mostly called Holi and the celebrations are spread over two days – Chhoti Holi and Rangwali Holi. On the evening of the first day of Holi, people light a bonfire called Holika Dahan signifying the victory of good over evil.

Holi has a slightly different flavor in the eastern part of the country. While in West Bengal, it’s called Dol Purnima, Doljatra or Basant Utsav, in Assam people often call it Phakuwa or Doul. The people of Odisha celebrate Dola on Holi and Lord Jagannath with Lord Balabharda and Goddess Subhadra replace the deities of Radha and Krishna.

In Uttarakhand, the Kumaoni Holi is a grand and colorful musical affair. People sing local Holi songs and folklore. Down south, in Tamil Nadu people celebrate Panguni Uthiram – a festival of love – on Holi.

Holi is called Ukkuli in Konkani and is also referred to as the spring festival – Sigmo. Holi is all about color, merrymaking, mouthwatering signature delicacies. The most symbolic Holi sweet is ‘Gujiya’, believed to have originated in Rajasthan. Gujiyas are sweet dumplings made of flour and filled with khoya and dry fruits. Malpuas, Dal Kachori and dahi Vada are also Holi specialities and Holi is incomplete without the famous Thandai.

Here are some places in India that are famous for their iconic Holi celebrations. It is said that people from across the world come to India to witness Holi celebrations and merrymaking at these locations:

1. Lathmar Holi – Uttar Pradesh

Lathmar Holi Festival is one of the unique and famous ways of Holi celebration in Uttar Pradesh province in India. Lathmar Holi of Barsana is primarily celebrated in the native place of Lord Krishna. All the natives of the area of Vrindavan, Mathura, Nandgoan, and Barsana come together to celebrate Holi with Lathis (Sticks) and colors made up of Kesudo and Palash flowers. As per tradition, Gopalas (men) of Barsana try to invade Nandgaon to play Holi with Gopis (women). In reciprocation, Gopis beat the Gopalas (men) with the sticks to pervert themselves to get colored. Isn’t that fun to watch and take part in it!! People from all over the world come for Lathmar Holi in Mathura every year.

2. Dola – Odisha

Dola Holi is celebrated in the coastal region of Odisha province of India. Dola Holi Celebration lasts for five-seven days, unlike two days, in the rest of India. Dola celebration starts on Falgun Dashmi (date as per Hindu calendar) when all people take out Yatra (religious gathering) of their deities (especially Lord Krishna) and offer them Bhog (sweets) and Abira (colored powder). This yatra continues for the next four days and ends on Falgun Purnima (date as per Hindu calendar) by playing Holi. Isn’t that a good idea to participate in Dola and celebrate Holi for five days in a row?

3. Basant Utsav – Bengal

Basant Utsav is the celebration of Holi in the West Bengal region of India. People welcome Basant Ritu (spring season) with open arms in West Bengal. They dress in yellow during Basant Utsav and play Holi with Gulaal (colored powder) for the whole day. Also, the Dola is a significant part of the Holi celebration in Bengal. Dola Yatra (religious gathering) is taken out on the main day where people play colors with squirt and Abira (colored powder) along with the procession. It is a sight full of bliss, enjoyment, and happiness.

4. Yoasang – Manipur

Yoasang is the Holi festival celebrated on the last full moon day of Lamda in Manipur province of India. This lasts for six days. The entire valley is covered in festive colors during those days. The youth takes part in this by constructing bamboo huts on the roadside called ‘Yaosang’. An idol of Lord Chaitanya is placed in the hut by a Brahmin (Devotee). Puja is offered and bhajans and kirtans are chanted. On the last day, the idols are removed and the hut is set on fire with the chanting of ‘Hari Bola’ and ‘He Hari’. The Holi is played in the Govindjee temple, colors are mixed in the wells and then sprayed on the people who dance in the beats of the devotional songs in praise of Lord Krishna.

5. Hola Mohalla – Punjab

As we go further up north to Sadda Punjab, an interesting fact comes up. Holi here is actually known as Holla Mohalla here. It is celebrated a day after Holi and is, in fact, a celebration commemorating the bravery of Sikh Warriors. The celebrations are characteristic of a particular sect, known as the Nihang Sikhs. The festivities include an extensive display of traditional martial arts which is later followed by music and dancing.

Nikita Sharma
Freelance Writer/
Blogger/ Content