The Iranian government has announced that public and private institutions across the country will be closed for two days from Wednesday to mitigate the impact of an unprecedented heat wave on public health.
Marking the beginning of the harvest season, the month of March is all set to celebrate the popular Hindu festival of colours known as Holi. The festival, majorly celebrated in India, begins on the eve of Full Moon Day (Purnima) and continues the following day, commonly referred to as Dhulandi, Dhuleti or Phagwah.
The colours, music and the liveliness associated with the celebration are reflective of the colours of the spring season and mark the end of the winter season. Historically speaking, religious rituals are performed in front of a bonfire signifying the destruction of evil in a similar way as Holika, the sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu was destroyed in the fire.
Despite being a Hindu festival, Holi is celebrated all across India and communities in multiple forms. This eventually consolidates the diverse culture of India and reaffirms the celebration of multilingual society. Barsana, Vrindavan, and Mathura regions of Uttar Pradesh celebrate one of the most popular Lathmar Holi.
The women chase away the men with lathis, signifying the chasing away of Lord Krishna by his beloved Radha’s friends. The tradition is kept alive by making the men dance in public wearing women’s clothes.
Hola Mohalla is another version of Holi, celebrated by the Sikhs, continuing their tradition of kushti and poetry recitation. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru began this form of revelry.
Doljatra is a famous way of marking the beginning of spring season in West Bengal. Shantiniketan witnesses the feel of festivities in the form of singing and dancing. The Kumaoni’s of Uttarakhand wear traditional attires and celebrate the festivals with local music and traditional dance forms.
Moving a little towards North-East India we witness Holi or Yaosang continued for six continuous days. Thabal Chongba is a characteristic folk dance of Manipur which remains the highlight for the festival.
This year, Holi will begin on the eve of March 9 and continue on March 10.