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Holi and Dhuleti

Holi

Essentially a spring festival, Holi is festival of colours. Celebrated in the month of March, Holi is celebrated with a lot of fervour, joy and merriment not just in Gujarat but whole of India.

Legends :


There are many legends related to the reason for the celebration of Holi. By one account, demoness Hoda was killed by children, reducing her on a heap, which was then lighted, thereby circumventing her boon of immortality.

Another version treats it as day when child Krishna had sucked the demoness Putna to death.

In yet another version, which is popular in Gujarat, Prahlad, the son of the demon King Hiranyakashyap had emerged unhurt from the heap of fire he was made to sit on, in the lap of Holika, who got burnt instead. Thus on a full moon day of Spring, Holi is celebrated to commemorate the event of one's belief.

Celebration :

The festival is celebrated by lighting a bonfire of wood and cowdung, which is erected in a conical shape over a small pit, which is dug at the bottom. Such fires are lit on almost all the important cross-sections of roads. Elders predict the timing of the monsoon on the basis of the direction in which the flag planted atop falls. Devotees offer coconut to the fire and the youth retrieve them amidst applause of bystanders.

It is also the principal religious festival of Adivasis in Gujarat. They abandon work and indulge in ceaseless folk dancing. The girls observe this festival by growing wheat in the bamboo baskets filled with earth and manure. In some tribes people indulge in the foulest of abuse and mock fights.

Dhuleti :

The next day after Holi is Dhuleti or Dhuli Padvo. Literally, it means throwing of mud, the practice, which had given way to throwing of vermilion. At times, the merrymaking lapses into unhindered revelry as youngsters indulge into throwing colours, not only on their friends but also on strangers taking advantage of the permissiveness granted on the occasion.

The Tribal Fervour :

In the villages of Panchmahals, Adivasi men play a martial game known as Gol-Gadheda in which the women after snatching a shoulder scarf from a man, ties it on a tree top with a lump of molasses. It is the job of the man to retrieve it from the tree, which is vigorously guarded by women. The game goes on till one of the men succeeds in securing the bundle. Such is the boundless merrymaking of the day.



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