Holi is a festival of colour which is been celebrated in spring season in India. Few days prior to Holi, people purchase new clothes, furbishes for this festival and indulge in merry making. People throw colours and coloured water on each other and enjoy a great time on this occasion. Little children also take immense pleasure by moving around the street and splash water on the other passersby. Differences of any kind get drowned in the colours of Holi. There is a total wildness as people enjoy to the fullest in all possible ways.
This celebration is not limited to the North Indians but is also observed by the people of Maharashtra with interest and great enthusiasm. The people of Maharashtra have unique and grand manner of celebrating Holi. In Maharashtra, Holi is called Rangpanchami or Shimga. Unlike the North Indians, Holi is celebrated on the fifth day after the Phalgun Purnima. Holika is burnt which symbolizes victory of good over bad. In Maharashtra, this festival is popular among the fisher folk and they celebrate it on large scale by singing and dancing. The dance is special and is known as Balya Dance which provides the people to realise their feelings, necessities and desires. They also utter a peculiar fashioned sound by striking mouths using the back side of their hands and seem to incarnate to a new rhythm of life.
People take delicious sweets such as Puran Poli and also drink sugarcane juice.
The main attraction of Holi in Maharashtra is a sport named pot breaking. This sport has its root from the ancient time of Lord Krishna. The exuberant festival is associated with the immortal love of Lord Krishna and Radha and so Holi is spread over sixteen days in Mathura as well as Vrindaban, the two cities where Lord Krishna shared deep affiliation. Pot breaking is celebrated to recall and show respect to the innocence of Lord Krishna as a child when he used to steal butter from nearby houses. Trained group of people form pyramids for breaking the pot hung high on the streets. Their access is restricted by constant splashing of water by women folk. Most of the people in Maharashtra come down on street to enjoy and participate in pot breaking sport with enthusiasm.
Holi in Maharashtra has great Historical significance. At the time of Maratha regime, the festival of Holi was celebrated with great grandeur and pomp. The five year old daughter of Lakhooji Jadhav named Jijabhai innocently splashed on Shahaji, son of Malajirao Bhowale with coloured water and then threw gulal on him. This incident was considered auspicious and on that day itself, the engagement of the two children was announced. When both the children grew up, they got married. Later on Jijabhai gave birth to a son named Shivaji. Shivaji later on became popular as the founder of the great Maratha Empire.
After full day’s enjoyment, in the evening people visits their relatives and greets them by exchanging delicious sweets. In some places various cultural programs are being arranged to generate brotherhood and harmony in the society.