On asking about his plans to celebrate Holi, Ajay, a city resident, says, in the middle of the last-minute shopping, I am very much excited through this festivity mood. I will be purchasing colors and gulals for my family, as Holi is very special for me as I get a good scope to spend it with my family members and friends.
Baidhar Rout, a seller, who had put his stall near Kalpana Square, Bhubaneswar, says, “We sell different colours, masks, gulals and different types of pichkaris to attract customers. At the same time, we are also making people aware regarding the chemicals used in colours that may affect their skin”.
Holi is one of the most important festivals of Hindus celebrated across the State with full zeal. People smear faces of each other with gulals, different colours, rejoice with sweets, food and drink on this occasion, which reflects the feeling of unity, togetherness and joy. Holi is a five day long celebration, especially in the rural areas of Odisha, which starts on Phalgun Poornima day marking the beginning of the spring season. The idols of Lord Krishna and goddess Radha in decorated Vimana (small wooden temple) are carried on shoulders from house to house to the chants of devotional hymns. The festivities culminate a day after Poornima (full moon) when people throw colour water, abir and gulal on each other. Cattle are bathed, anointed with vermilion, garlanded and fed sumptuously on this occasion.
Celebrated in all parts of the country, Holi has a religious background. The festival is celebrated in the memory of Prahlad, who was a great devotee of god. His father Hiranyakashap hated god and those who worshipped god. He adopted several ways to kill his son, but god saved him. Finally he asked his sister ‘Holika’ to take Prahlad in her lap and a fire would be burnt around her, where his sister ‘Holika’ died but Prahlad still survived.