In March, the festivals of Dol Purnima(or Holi as it is called by
Northern Hindus is celebrated. This is the festival of colours and
heralds the arrival of the the short spring season.
Dol Purnima more popularly known as Holi is a festival of colours
and the city celebrates it with the traditional gaiety. Holi is also
known as the Dol Yatra in Bengal. It is celebrated by people of all
walks of life both young and old by smearing each other with
coloured powder especially red. Colours are also mixed with water
and sprayed on passer-by. The ever enthusiastic group enjoys by
drinking bhang which is a mild-milk beverage laced with marijuana.
Social barriers are broken. It is time when poor and rich, lower
cast touch upper cast enjoy with each other.
Dol Purnima Celebration
Usually people burn Holika on the eve of Dol Purnima.People
celebrate this festival of colours joyously with friends and
relative, rubbing gual, aabir and throwing coloured water on each
other. On this day, people come out wearing pure white clothes and
gether together in a common place where they play it with gay
abandon. Dancers performed the dance around the fire.
Traditional delicacies are prepared in advance and served while
playing Dol Purnima. People visit each others houses and savor the
delicious dishes, be it the famous Rossogolla or the preparation of
'Malpoa' (a dessert made of flour, milk, sugar and dry fruits). The
colour, noise and entertainment that accompanies the celebration of
Dol Purnima bears witness to the feelings of oneness and a sense of
brotherhood and goodwill. The spring air is still cool, the water
cold, but revelers make a special punch of an intoxicant called
bhang, which is mixed in milk, to add to the festivities.
In Shantiniketan the abode of Tagore celebrates Dol in a unique
way. It welcome the season 'Basanta' with music and dance and early
morning 'Path'. Young girls wear yellow saris and perform dance in
around the 'ashram' to the song of Tagore's 'Khol dar khol'.
According to the legend, ambitious king, Hiranyakashyap wanted to
be the most powerful king and wanted to be worshipped as the god.
But his own son Prahlad, who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu,
refused to obey his father. Hiranyakashyap decided to punish his son
and asked for help from Holika, his sister. As Holika was immune to
fire, the king asked Holika to sit at the center of a flaming pyre
with Prahlad on her lap. The intention was to kill Prahlad. Yet
Prahlad emerged unscathed by the fire while Holika was burnt to
ashes. The good over the evil, prevailed. From Holika to Holi, the
celebration marks the triumph of the good over the evil.
Dol Purnima, the festival of colour is celebrated in all over the
country with great festivity and joy. In Mathura, the birth place of
Lord Krishna, this day is celebrated with special puja and the
traditional custom of worshipping Lord Krishna.