In these times when the modern ways of celebrating Holi including chemical colours, water, balloons, water guns and loud pop music have gained popularity, traditional Kumaoni Holi is still being celebrated by the people of Kumaon region in various parts of the state.
The Kumaoni tradition of celebrating Holi is more than celebrating Holi just with colours. Unlike the usual celebration, Kumaoni Holi begins from the day of Vasant Panchmi. The Kumaoni folk songs and dance together with Dhol and Huruk are indispensable part of the celebration.
According to Almora resident Dev Singh Bhandari, “For people in Kumaon region, Holi represents the beginning of the sowing season and the end of the winter season apart from the triumph of good over evil. Therefore, people celebrate it with songs and dance.” Elaborating about the songs, Bhandari said that the songs sung in Holi gatherings are normally spiritual that recount the tales of Lord Krishna and how he celebrated Holi at Mathura with Radha, his family and friends.
“There are few certain folk songs which are sung according to the time in a day due to the Ragas they are based on. However, people these days do not strictly follow these guidelines though we still try to teach such things to our children so that they can maintain the sanctity of our culture and traditions after us,” added Bhandari.
Broadly, Baithki Holi and Khari Holi are the two types of traditional Kumaoni Holi celebrations. When the group of women celebrates Holi separately, it is called Mahila Holi. The local men generally wear white Kurta, Payjama, and Topi whereas the women wear sarees during the celebrations. Talking about the Kumaoni Holi celebrations, Dehradun resident KS Bisht said that Baithki Holi begins from Vasant Panchmi and ends on Dashmi of Phalguna month. Subsequently, Khari Holi commences from Ekadashi of Phalguna month and ends on Poornima. The day after Poornima is celebrated as the last day of Holi.
In this celebration, traditionally jaggery and Sooji Halwa are offered as in the old times, sweets like Gujiya were not available in the mountainous regions, added Bisht.
On the importance of celebrating Holi in a traditional way, Nainital resident Tej Singh Joshi said, “These days most of the people do not go out with their families to celebrate Holi outside their neighbourhood. Therefore, such traditional celebration gives us the opportunity to be appreciative to our families, neighbours and friends and share joyous moments with them.”
Monday, 09 March 2020 | PNS | Dehradun
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