Holi Celebration In Uttarakhand
A full moon day in the month of Phalgun(March), when the entire Earth is drenched in colours of Gulal, the day when people are thrilled to send India gifts, luscious sweets and warm wishes; yes, we’re definitely talking about Holi. Enlivened children walk with water filled balloons and Pichkaris, happy-go-lucky faces are adorned with tints of Gulal, finger-licking Gujiyas and Mathris adorn the kitchen, people in a distant land send gifts to India and the famous holi songs top off this blithesome occasion.
As India is a country of heterogeneous cultures and diversities, the different regions have a peculiar way of celebrating Indian festivals. Similarly, the Northern lands – Uttarakhand celebrate Holi in a remarkable fashion. Uttarakhand or Uttaranchal, commonly known as the land of gods (devbhoomi), is the northern part of India and is especially known for its natural beauty. During the medieval period, the region of Uttaranchal was consolidated with the Kumaon and Garhwal Kingdom and thus the Holi in Uttaranchal is commonly known as Kumaoni Holi. The main attractions of the Kumaoni Holi celebrated in the regions of Uttaranchal are listed below.
It’s all about music; the festival, the gatherings and the Kumaon custom. Commonly, we recognize Holi as the festival of colours, but in Uttarakhand it’s the festival of Music and ragas. The melodies traditions of music come straight from the sources of 15th century history, Chand kings and Champawat court. In this exquisite tradition, the songs, Hindustani Ragas and Folk music are played according to the time of the day. For Instance, songs based on Sarang and Peelu Ragas are played at noon. Evening is best with the Ragas of Kalyan and Yaman.
Various forms of musical gatherings like Baithaki Holi, Khadi Holi and Mahila Holi are held ceremoniously and are marked as the beginning of Holi celebration.
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Women play a prominent role in this musical holi of Uttarakhand as the gatherings are composed exclusively of elated women. They dominate the public celebrations in Kumaoni Holi and move from temple to temple, singing and dancing.
The thrilled people of Kumaon region gather in this Baithki Holi(literally sitting Holi) also known as Nirvan ki Holi or Holi of celebration and it starts from the premises of temple. The musical gatherings are held in local community centres even at local homes, the songs are sung by Holiyars accompanied with instruments like tabla, dholak and harmonium.
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Khadi Holi or literally standing Holi is celebrated a little later than the Baithki Holi and is seen in the rural areas of Kumaon. People are dressed in their traditional attire of churidaar kurta and pyjama with nokdaar topi, they go in groups called tolis and greet their friends.
Chharodi is the main play of colours where people use Abeer and Gulal prepared with natural elements like flowers.
A festival of colours is never completed without a religious prayer; same goes to this mirthful Kumaoni Holi, people throw gulal in the air as they recite Kumaoni prayers of prosperity and health for their beloved. With the idea that distance can never separate us, people from other countries also send warm regards and special India gifts. Fellow Indians also send gifts to India from US and other countries to cherish this mirthful occasion.