Holi is one of the most celebrated festivals in India. It brings along the onset of the spring season and is therefore a celebration of joy. People light bonfires a day before Holi signifying the overpowering of good over evil and celebrate the festival with their friends and family using dry colours called gulaal and water.
Although, ideally it is a Hindu festival, it is celebrated in different ways across various communities and sections of society. In North India, every year, men from Nandgaon where Lord Krishna grew up, go to Barsana to raise their flag on top of the Shri Radhikaji temple. However, the women of the village greet them with sticks instead of colors due to which it began to be called as the Lathmaar Holi.
In East and North India, Bengalis play Holi with dry colours where a worshipping ceremony to Lord Krishna and Radha also takes place. The idols are decorated and then taken on streets for devotees to pay respect. In West India such as in Maharashtra Holi is called Rangpanchami and is celebrated among the fishing communities where celebrations include singing and dancing. While in Gujrat, the first day is spent fasting while in the evening bonfires are lit. The celebration of colours with water happens on the next day. In Southern India Holi is celebrated to commemorate the sacrifice of Kamadeva, the Lord of passion who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation.
The various ways in which Holi is celebrated in the country speaks for its rich culture and unifies the country irrespective of the religion, caste, creed or sex. The festival brings in joy and hope and at the same time signifies the repercussions of coarse human nature, which is very necessary to understand considering the times today. The various methodological legends and their stories associated with this festival tell people to be truthful in their lives and hence follow the correct code of conduct. To outweigh past mistakes one needs to learn how to not repeat them and resolve them if they occur in future. This will lead to a change in the overall character of a person. Hence let Holi unite us and while we celebrate it as just a festival we also understand the importance it holds in our lives and at the same time help us be free of our old burdens and baggages.