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Holi, also known as the festival of colours is widely celebrated across the world. Every year the festival is observed with harmony and brotherhood. This year the festival will be celebrated on 29 March 2021. People will be celebrating the festival with their loved ones.
Though the festival is usually observed for two days, at some places the festival is observed for more than two days? Yes, you read that right. At some places in India, the festival is celebrated for a week. These places are Mathura and Vrindavan. Each day is known by different names and celebrations.
Day 1: Barsana Lathmar Holi (23 March 2021)
This is the first day celebration of Holi that takes place in Vrindavan. It is said that Radha belonged to Barsane, a village in Vrindavan. Since Lord Krishna often visited Barsane to spend time with Radha, He often played pranks on her and tried to tease her. He often visited Barsane with His Gops (friends) and teased Gopis (also known as the consorts of Lord Krishna). Gopis and Radha used to get annoyed and irritated by the pranks of Lord Krishna. One day all the Gopis and Radha decided to teach a lesson to Lord Krishna. They then chased Lord Krishna along with Gops by hitting them with sticks. Since the incident was platonic and took a few days before Holi, people started observing it as Lathmar Holi.
On this day, men from Nandgaon, the foster home of Lord Krishna visit Barsane and tease women. While women in Barsane dress up as Gopis and beat the men with sticks in a platonic manner. While men try to defend themselves. People also visit and worship in the Radha Rani temples.
Day 2: Nandgaon Lathmar Holi (24 March 2021)
This is the reverse of the Lathmar Holi observed in Barsana. On this day, men from Barsane dress up as Gops and visit Nandgaon to tease women. They are then beaten up with sticks from the women of Nandgaon. People enjoy the full festivities as sweet delicacies are distributed and thandai, a kind of cold and sweet milk drink is served.
Day 3: Phoolon Wali Holi (25 March 2021)
If you think Holi is all about playing with colours then this is not true. In Vrindavan, people play phoolon wali Holi i.e., Holi played with flowers. On this day people in Vrindavan visit Lord Krishna and Radha Rani temple and offer colourful flowers to them. The doors of the temples are opened at 4 pm and then the priests shower flower petals on devotees and this is when the Phoolon Wali Holi begins. This is one of the most beautiful celebrations that take place in Vrindavan.
Day 4: Widow's Holi (27 March 2021)
Though widows are exempted from playing Holi, Vrindavan witnesses a unique Holi celebration in which widows actively take part. Widows across the country come to stay in the Pagal Baba Ashram, a shelter home for widows. They then abide by the rules and traditions associated with widows. While staying in the Ashram, widows follow pure abstinence and devote their life in spirituality and God. But in the past few years, things changed and now widows play Holi with each other.
Day 5: Holika Dahan (28 March 2021)
This is another Holi celebration that takes place in both Mathura and Vrindavan. On this day, people take part in a bonfire. In order to burn the bonfire, they collect wood, discarded things and dried leaves. They light the fire and worship the fire God and seek blessings. People also exchange gifts and sweets with each other.
Day 6: Rangpanchami (29 March 2021)
Rangpanchami is the last day of Holi celebration. On this day people smear and throw colours on each other. They wear white and/or old clothes and go out to play colours with loved ones and other people. Children throw water filled balloons at passersby and enjoy with other people.