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Celebrations across India


Holi has an intrinsic regional flavour. The festival of colours is celebrated with great fervour in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Northeast India, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab,Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Tamil Nadu. Holi is also known by various names in different parts of India, like Lathmaar Holi, Dulandi Holi, Rangpanchami, Basant Utsav, Dol Purnima, Hola Mohalla, Shimgo, Kaman Pandigai and Phagun Purnima. 

In Bihar 
In Bihar people clean their houses a week before Holi and start collecting twigs, unnecessary furniture, chopped wood of araad, redi and holika tree and pile it up at some place for lighting the Holi. On the first day of Holi, thalis of colour and a pot of liquid colour are arranged. The elder member of the family applies some colour on the forehead of each member in the family. Each family member repeats the same. Youngsters apply colours to the feet of their elders. People gather together for the Holika fire. At some places mud baths are prepared. High-pitched folk songs, use of dholaks along with drinking of bhang are seen during Holi. 

In Uttar Pradesh 
In Uttar Pradesh effigies of Holika are burnt. On the night of Holi (Phalgun Poornima) it is lit with the chanting of Raksogna Mantras from Rig-Veda and so on. People offer prayer to the fire and pray for a good harvest. This day is also called as Puno. They offer gram and stalks from the harvest along with coconuts and flowers to render gratitude. It is believed that Holi is named after fried cereals or parched grains called, as Holla in Sanskrit. It is also a tradition to offer wheat and oat. Scorched coconuts are taken home as Prasad. 

In Bengal 
In Bengal, Holi is known as Dol Jatra or Dol Purnima. Here, people put on yellow clothes and attend Jatra, which is a peaceful ceremony. It is celebrated as the birthday of Mahaprabhu Chaitanya. People decorate the idol of Lord Krishna and Radha and carry it on the streets in a beautifully decorated palanquin. 

In Northeast India 
Initiated in the 18th century with Vaishnavism, Holi is celebrated for six days in Manipur. An amalgamation of Holi and another very old festival called Yaosang is observed, when Holi is played here. A thatched hut of mud and clay is burnt, in the evening. In Manipur, boys have to pay the girls to play Holi with them. Dances, devotional songs, cultural programmes are organized at temples. Devotees gather in white dresses and yellow turbans and play with colours in front of the temple. Large procession is taken to the Krishna temple near Imphal on the last day. 

In Gujarat 
The colourful Holi in Gujarat is also significant for tribals of Garasia and Bhil Adivasis. They get together at Darbargarh and also arrange fairs at Chhota Udaipur and the Rajpipla hills. Dangs Darbar, Satpura and north Gujarat are full of fairs even after Holi. Holi in Gujarat is also known as Hulosani. They light Holika with the fire brought from the temple of Mata. People offer, raw mangoes, coconut, corn, toys made of sugar, khoya to the Holika. The ash from the pyre of Holika is used in the preparation of idols of goddess Amba. Young women wishing for a handsome groom decorate these idols with flowers. 

In South India 
In South India Holi is known as Kaman Pandigai, Kamavilas, Kama-dahanam. It is generally celebrated to honour Kama Dev. People offer sandalwood mixed with a beer to Holika. Such an act is performed traditionally to honour Kama Deva`s sacrifice and as an act to relieve Kam Dev of his burns. The next day people apply this mixture to their forehead and eat it after mixing it with young leaves and flowers of Mango tree. In Tamil Nadu, songs sung here are stories of grief at the loss of Kama Deva. 



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