The festival of Holi can be regarded as a celebration of the Colors of Unity & Brotherhood – an opportunity to forget all differences and indulge in unadulterated fun. It has traditionally been celebrated in high spirit without any distinction of cast, creed, color, race, status or sex. It is one occasion when sprinkling colored powder (‘gulal’) or colored water on each other breaks all barriers of discrimination so that everyone looks the same and universal brotherhood is reaffirmed. This is one simple reason to participate in this colorful festival. Let’s learn more about its history and significance…
What is ‘Phagwah’?
‘Phagwah’ is derived from the name of the Hindu month ‘Phalgun’, because it is on the full moon in the month of Phalgun that Holi is celebrated. The month of Phalgun ushers India in Spring when seeds sprout, flowers bloom and the country rises from winter’s slumber.
Meaning of ‘Holi’
‘Holi’ comes from the word ‘hola’, meaning to offer oblation or prayer to the Almighty as Thanksgiving for good harvest. Holi is celebrated every year to remind people that those who love God shall be saved and they who torture the devotee of God shall be reduced to ashes a la the mythical character Holika.
Colorful days, solemn rituals, joyous celebrations – Holi is a boisterous occasion! Draped in white, people throng the streets in large numbers and smear each other with bright hued powders and squirt coloured water on one another through pichkaris (big syringe-like hand-pumps), irrespective of caste, color, race, sex, or social status; all these petty differences are temporarily relegated to the background and people give into an unalloyed colorful rebellion. There is exchange of greetings, the elders distribute sweets and money, and all join in frenzied dance to the rhythm of the drums. But if you wanna know how to celebrate the festival of colors to the fullest through the whole length of three days, here’s a primer.
PHAGWAH CELEBRATIONS IN GUYANA
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