Holi in Odisha

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Holi is a popular festival and is more common in North India. Odisha celebrates Holi in their traditional style. The tradition of celebrating Holi in Odisha is almost same as that in West Bengal but there are certain minor regional changes. One example is that instead of placing idols of Lord Krishna and Radha as in the case in West Bengal, in Odisha idol of Lord Jagannath is placed. The reason behind this is the famous Jagannath Temple of Puri.

Holi is a popular festival among the coastal districts of Odisha. This festival in Odisha is referred to as spring festival or Basantotsaba. Although Holi is observed for one day all over the country, the duration of this festival is five days in Odisha. The festival begins from the tenth day of fortnight of Phalgun also known as Fagu Dasami. The people apply Abir and take round the idols of Madan Mohan in well decorated palanquins called Veemana. This procession of God Madan Mohan is accompanied by pipers, drummers and Sankirtana Mandalis of the region.  There is a halt of procession in front of each and every household and the deity of Madan Mohan is offered with Bhog. This rounding of the deity for four days is known as Chachery. On the last and final day of the festival, the celebration reaches full swing. The idols from various villages are carried in veemanas and are assembled at an important place where swings are fixed. They are made to swing and the devotees sing devotional songs accompanied by music in front of the idol. In the evening, the milkmen carry palanquin on shoulders for Lord Krishna belonging to their clan. Games like Dandi Khela are also played to add to enjoyment of the occasion.

After swinging of the deities, Jyothisha reads out Oriya almanac and tells the important upcoming events which will take place during that particular year. On the fourteenth day, there is a program named Holipoda in which hut made of straw is burnt with amusement and excitement.  After Holipoda the next day is celebrated with colours. People smear coloured powders on each other and squirt coloured waters on them. People of Odisha have lot of fun and cherished memories in this festival. In some places of Odisha, the burning of hut made up of straw is known as Mendhapod or burning of ram. Also in many places of Odisha, fairs called Melana are arranged and idols of the deity are assembled there. The Veemanas from surrounding villages are also kept in a row so that the people can view. It is found that there is a keen competition for the decoration of veemanas. All the veemanas reaches the spot and then display of fireworks takes place. To have a glimpse of this beautiful view of firework, thousands of enthusiastic crowd gathers together at the spot of firework. In this fair, some household articles, furniture, commodities, agricultural implements etc are sold. The fair continues till Chaitra in various districts of Odisha like Puri, Cuttack Ganjam etc.

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