NEW DELHI: The festival of colours, Holi is arriving soon and people are gearing up to celebrate the joyous festival with their friends and family. While Holi is celebrated in every part of the country, one of the most unique celebrations occurs in the holy land of Radha-Krishna, Braj located in the centre of Vrindavan-Mathura.
Since it is celebrated in the village of Braj Bhumi, the festival is called Braj ki Holi. Here, the celebrations often begin from Basant Panchami (February 5) and extend till 2-3 days after the last day of Holi! This unique celebration of Holi is internationally popular for its grandness but this year, the festivities will remain small and contained due to the social distancing guidelines. However, the traditions of Braj ki Holi will remain the same.
Here are the types of Holi celebration included in Braj ki Holi this year:
Laddu’s Holi, Barsana: This is the first day of Braj ki Holi. It’s held at Radha Rani’s village Barsana. Laddu Mar Holi consists of devotees gathering in temples, dancing, singing and later throwing laddu’s at each other, which is ultimately consumed as Prasad.
Lathmar Holi, Barsana in Rangili Gali: On this day, women of Barsana take up sticks or lathis and chase men away from the area. This practice comes from the story of Lord Krishna, who once visited Radha’s village to tease her and her friends.
At the time, gopis of the village took offence to this and chased him away with sticks. After the celebrations in Radha’s village Barsana, Lathmar Holi is celebrated in Nandgaon on the following day.
Holi of flowers and Rangbarni Holi: In Mathura, Lord Krishna’s birthplace, Phool ki Holi or Holi of flowers takes place at the Bankey Bihari Temple. Here, the idols of Radha-Krishna are served with beautiful and freshly bloomed garlands. Local priests and dwellers only use flowers and petals to play with each other during this Holi celebration.
Gulal’s Holi for widows, Vrindavan: Traditionally, widows are told to strictly wear white after their husband’s departure. However, on this day, they get to break the rules of the previous tradition. On this day, we see widows smearing gulal on each other and painting one another with colour and liveliness.
Holika Dahan, Banke Bihari Temple: Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi is celebrated with a bonfire that signifies the burning of the demon Holika. It is usually performed the evening before the Rangwali Holi.
Coloured Holi: Much like the rest of the world, Mathura-Vrindavan will celebrate Rangwali Holi with vibrant gulal often made organically with flowers.
Huranga of Dauji Temple, Nandgaon: Observed a day after the coloured Holi, this is a slightly violent celebration as it involves women thrashing and stripping men off their clothes. This exclusive ritual only takes place in the courtyard of the Dauji Temple which is located about 30 km outside Mathura. The practice is considered to be a way for women to take revenge on men for teasing them and playing pranks on them.