Holi, a festival of colors, is celebrated with great fervor all over the nation. A celebration of the triumph of good over evil, a riot of colors, an occasion for people to come together and as an ancient spring tradition, Holi celebrations have many aspects. Families and friends are seen to come out on the streets in numbers and spray each other with colored water with their even more colorful pichkaris. People of diverse Indian culture and custom celebrate Holi differently and the celebrations are typical to each state.
In Barsana near Mathura in the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, Holi is celebrated in an unusual manner where one can see crowds of men, cowering before women striking them with bamboo sticks. Men taking advantage of the opportunity the festival grants them, spray women with colored water and powder and provocative language and the women retaliate by raining blows on the men with sticks.
Indian cultural facts talk about a story that Lord Krishna who lived in Nandgaon, another village in Uttar Pradesh, is believed to have come to Barsana to tease Radha and her friends, when he was driven away by the women with sticks. Thus the tradition of lathmar holi.
Another age-old tradition associated with holi celebrations is drinking thandai, a cooling drink made with a mixture of dried fruits and certain spices, laced with ‘bhang’, prepared from the leaves and buds of the female cannabis plant. Consumption of bhang, the drink known to have been patronized by Lord Shiva, is a tradition followed by most holi revellers today.
The spirit of Holi encourages the feeling of brotherhood in society with people of all communities and religions participating in this joyous and colorful festival to strengthen the secular fabric of the nation.