Updated March 22nd, 2024 at 19:05 IST

Indian Holi Traditions That You Should Know About

Have a look at unorthodox practises like chita-bhasma and why they take place during the celebrations of Holi in India.

Holi 2024 | Image:Unsplash

The vibrant festival of colours Holi, known to mark the advent of spring and symbolise the victory of good over evil, is celebrated with unparalleled zeal across India. While splashing colours and dousing each other with water epitomise the festival's spirit, several regions boast unique traditions that are as intriguing as they are diverse. These distinct customs underscore the rich cultural tapestry of India, blending playful practices with deep-rooted spirituality. Check out these unorthodox Holi traditions that continue to bewitch both residents and visitors.

Lath Maar Holi

Barsana, Uttar Pradesh, hosts the Lath Maar Holi, where traditional gender roles are flipped in a display of empowerment and joy. Women are known to run along with sticks, energetically chase and playfully beat the men, who shield themselves. This vibrant tradition reenacts the frolics between Lord Krishna and the gopi's, providing a spectacle of mock battles amid the backdrop of songs and dances.

Image credit: Unsplash
Image credit: Unsplash

Chita-Bhasma Holi

Varanasi's Chita-Bhasma Holi offers a profound experience that transcends mere celebration. Devotees, including sadhus and Aghoris, converge at Manikarnika Ghat to play Holi with ashes from the cremation grounds. This rite honours Lord Shiva, symbolising the cycle of life and death. The sight of holy men adorned with sacred ashes wandering the streets adds a mystical dimension to the festivities.

Tradition of Bhang

Bhang, a cannabis-based concoction, plays a pivotal role in Holi's exuberance, legally enjoyed in drinks or edibles to induce euphoria. Despite cannabis restrictions, bhang's cultural significance ensures its acceptance during Holi, fostering a sense of community and enhancing the festival's jovial atmosphere.

Image credit:Pexels
Image credit:Pexels

Playing with Scorpions

In Saunthana village, Uttar Pradesh, locals partake in a daring tradition of handling scorpions, believing they will not sting on this auspicious day. This bold practice demonstrates the villagers' unwavering faith in divine protection, adding an element of thrill to their Holi celebrations.

Each of these traditions encapsulates the essence of Holi in its own unique way, from fostering gender equality and spiritual contemplation to communal euphoria and a test of faith. These customs not only enrich the festival's vibrancy but also showcase the diverse ways in which Holi is embraced across India, reflecting the country's rich cultural heritage and the multifaceted nature of its people.


Published March 22nd, 2024 at 19:05 IST