Spring is here and so is Holi, the ‘festival of colors’. This Hindu festival is a euphoric celebration across North India and Nepal. Not getting into lengthy details about its tradition, according to some legends, demon Holika who was immune to fire got burnt this day and it symbolically represents the victory of good over evil. People smeared the ash from the cooled fire on their foreheads the next day and this is why colors (gulal) came to use for the celebration.
Well, if you have celebrated Holi in full swing, you will know how maddening it is. Like everyone turns into an adrenaline junkie, people come on the streets dressed in white, splashing colored water over each other, guzzling the infamous cannabis-derived drink called Bhang and gorging on the sweets. It is, I believe, the most picturesque festival in the world and you can’t help but imbibe the spirit of this tradition too.
Now the festival is just around the corner (On March 23, 2016) so let me give you a quick round-up of 5 must-dos to make the most of this special day. Here we go –
1. Get grooving for a Holi Party with Dholak
If you are more of an adventurer, you must leave for Mathura (in Uttar Pradesh) or Kumaon region in Uttarakhand for the ultimate fun. The Lath Maar Holi in Braj region of Mathura is a major attraction with women playfully dishing out men with a stick (or lath) while in Kumaon (Uttarakhand), Holi is more of a music fest. Both these places will offer you the best!
If you’re celebrating it in your locale, a pool party is a must. Holi is all about getting together with friends and family, indulging in colors, food and music! Let alone the DJs, grooving to the beats of Dholak (drum) is mandatory for a complete desi and fun indulgence. I can hear you saying Yes!
2. Chill out with Thandai
This traditional almond-flavored drink is particularly savored on Holi. The exotic mix of spices infused into milk is the main highlight of the day. In some (ok, many 😀 ) cases, bhang (cannabis paste) is also a part of the ingredients so drink at your own risk! Especially if you are drinking it at a random place, do ask if it has bhang in it or not. Ladies, please take note.
On the contrary, if you like the sober Thandai like me, well you can count on the Thandai from Paper Boat . Tried, tested and absolutely recommended, it is one of the best Thandai I ever had, no kidding! They kept the traditional recipe intact and it comes in an awesome leak-proof package. So it’s a win-win!
3. Gorge on the Gujiyas
Savory, sweet dumplings, native to Rajasthan are relished in ample on Holi. The filling is usually sweet with khoya/mawa, nuts and dried fruits. Being every bit delicious, they are my favorite, I never especially miss out on them on Holi. Well if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you can go for Methi Mathi, a crisp snack that tastes best with chai or you can have the best of both worlds with Gujiyas and Mathis altogether.
4. Put on your worst ‘white’ clothes and get rolling
So the crowd is getting bonkers; you can’t avoid them so join them, right?! Put on your worst clothes, essentially white. Why white? I will tell you why. Pick your old white tee and go play with every color out there with your friends. Whether you had the most fab Holi or had your first crazy Holi and you come back as a canvas of colors, do not put your tee straight into laundry yet. Instead, keep it as a souvenir for future!
5. Get into a water fight
Bring out your crazy side with water balloons, pichkaris and a fun playlist to get yourself ready to waltz. 😀 ‘coz Bura na mano Holi hai (Don’t mind it’s Holi)! Pool parties are the new ‘it’ thing while we also get into color riots the desi way and we all know it’s worth the fun! Smear your friends’ faces with colors keeping in mind that it is best to play with organic or natural ones. Knowing how scarce water is, avoid over-using it. Not missing out on the fun, yet keeping a few things in mind would make it joyous for everyone, isn’t it?!
What are your plans for Holi and how you like to celebrate it – Wacky or Nice? Do let me know in the comments below –