Tomorrow is Holi and the city gears up for all the fun and revelryRing in the spring with Holi, the festival of colours . Celebrated for two days in the month of March Holi begins with a bonfire, Holika on the first day. It's followed by Rang Panchami on the second day, where people smear coloured powder or gulal and water on one another. And this year Holi is tomorrow.
Colour festThe North Indian communities in the city are gearing up to celebrate this festival. "Songs related to Holi will be sung for four days at the Shri Ram Mandir at Mattancherry," says G. P. Goyal former president of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cochin. The famous Holika, which is a symbol of triumph of good over evil, will be burnt this evening. "Usually, ladies do a puja just before the Holika is set on fire and another one after it has been burnt," he adds. "On Holi the entire north Indian community here consisting of Jains, Gujaratis, Punjabis, Marwaris, Maheshwaris and others gear up for a combined Holi Milap," says Prabha Chandak, a resident of Gujarati Lane.Certain communities fast as part of the religious aspect of Holi, and break the fast in the evening after offering puja. Special food items such as halwa, puri and dahi wada are prepared by the womenfolk and with these food items the fast is broken. "After offering kachoris, laddoos and other fried items as bhog to Lord Krishna, we break our fast. During Holi, we play games like fish pond and have a good time with close family friends and relatives," adds Prabha Chandak. Thandaai, a cool refreshing almond and milk drink prepared especially to beat the North Indian summers plays a dominant role in this colourful fest. This celebration would never be complete without the presence of thandaai that adds to the joy and merriment while playing Holi. "Most importantly, ample space and water are required to play Holi. Earlier every year we would gather at a friend's house that was large enough to play Holi. ," says Prabha.
ChangesHas there been any change noticed in the celebration in the past few years in the celebration of Holi. G. P. Goyal says, "No not really, but this year due to the CBSE Board exams approaching, it may be a little difficult to get all the families to come for a Holi gathering." But on an optimistic note, Prabha adds "Visit the Krishna Mandir at Palace Road and you will actually see the true colours of Holi there." Colours are obtained from their favourite Anil Store at the Gujarati Market, which is a regular supplier of Holi colours and items. Every year as Holi keeps its date with us, it also serves as a reminder as to how colourful and alive our country is.TANYA MUNSHI