The festival of colors – Holi celebrates the legend of Radha and Krishna.
Yes the colorful holi that we play these days was first played by Lord Krishna in his childhood when he applied colour on Radha and other gopis. This prank of Krishna later, became a trend and a part of the Holi festivities.
Hence the celebrations of Holi in Braj region – the homeland of Lord Krishna and Radha, takes place in an exotic and totally unique manner.
Braj also known as Brij or Brijbhoomi is a region mainly in Uttar Pradesh of India, around Mathura-Vrindavan. Though never a clearly defined political region in India, Brij region contains major cities like Mathura, Jalesar, Bharatpur, Agra, Hathras, Dholpur, Aligarh, Etawah, Mainpuri, Etah, Kasganj and Firozabad.
Holi Celebrations in Braj :
Although Holi is celebrated across India, the celebrations of Holi in the Braj region of North India are considered to be special and they take place in a grand manner as people believe that historically, Holi started in Braj – by Lord Krishna.
Here, the main Holi celebrations take place is Mathura (birthplace of Lord Krishna), Gokul and Vrindavan (Place where Lord Krishna grew up), Nandgaon (Native village of the Lord Krishna), Barsana (Village of Radha).
The Holi celebrations in Braj region is not a one or two day affair but holi festivities here take place for a period of 15 days, right from the day after the Phalgun Amavasi. However the festivities gain momentum from the Ekadashi day, the 11th day during the waxing phase of moon in Phalguna month.
In the Braj region men in traditional dress take on the role of gops (friends of Krishna), while women play gopis (friends of Radha). People play with colored powder during the festival of Holi.
Every year, devotees of Lord Krishna and Radha from all over the world visit the Brij region to play holi and are seen lost in a trance, forgetful of their dresses, disfigured with splashes of colors. Dvevotees are also seen singing Holi songs in pure Braj Bhasha (the classical language of the land).
The celebration of Holi is synonymous with water balloons, pichhkaris or water guns, gulaal, bhang and mithai, but for people of Braj region – especially the villages of Nandgaon and Barsana – the celebrations of Holi is considered to be incomplete without “Lath mar Holi”
In this Holi celebration, women beat up men with sticks (locally known as lath or lathi) and men folk protect themselves with shields.
Wishing all readers Happy Holi 2017 !!!