Holi Festival in Himachal Pradesh :
Holi, a festival that has been played in India, is one of the major festivals in the country. In Himachal Pradesh, which lies in the northern part of the country, Holi is celebrated with their sets of traditions and customs. It is a beautiful sight to see people getting involved in the festive spirit and celebrating the festival. Though the customs might slightly differ from other places, the central theme of the festival remains the same.
The festival of Holi is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phalgun, though the celebrations begin prior to this day. Women make a special offering during Holi to the deities. Small twigs of the ‘Kamal’ tree are painted in red and yellow and then laid out in little bamboo baskets (khartoo) along with thread, kumkum, jaggery and roasted grams. These
baskets are then carried by the women along with pots of coloured water. With these baskets in hand women circumvent the holika, bonfire and make special offerings. These offerings are then first offered to an elderly man (Dandochh) and then the Holi is played.
The day prior to Holi, when the moon comes out, the Holi bonfire is built and set to fire, marking the triumph of good over evil, the next day the entire village plays Holi. There is a scramble during this among the younger men to touch the Holi flag first, the first to get to it is considered lucky. Special delicacies are prepared of which, Kadah Prasad (sweet gruel) is famous in Himachal Pradesh.
In the holy shrine of Ponta Sahib in Sirmour district on the banks of Yamuna, thousands of devotee flock to take divine blessings during Holi. The shrine is highly regarded and people have great faith in it. No wonder, they choose the auspicious day of Holi to seek blessings from the gods.
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