Holi (festival of colours), is a very important festival of North India. In Brij bhoomi (area around Mathura) it is celebrated on a different note and people remain high for weeks.
According to mythology, the area around Mathura used to be ruled by King Baldeo, elder brother of Lord Krishna. This area is now famous as Baldeo or Dauji (elder brother) in his memory, and Holi is called Dauji Huranga. The festival is celebrated on the tenth day (dasami) of the month of Phalgun (Feb-March).
The celebration for the festivities begin almost a week before and people play Holi with a lot of fun and frolic.
The Lathmar Holi celebrates the romance between Radha and Krishna. During this period the greetings also change in the villages to “Radhe radhe” and people even paint their faces with these greetings.
The celebrations starts with people gathering in the village temple around forenoon. Music and songs are played and colours are thrown around. The festivities then move to the village square where the Lathmar Holi begins.
According to the legend Lord Krishna (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) visited his beloved Radha’s in her village, Barsana. He played and teased her friends, the Gopis. Taking offense, the Gopis, hurl sticks at Gopas (men), who try and save themselves from this beating. On the first day Gopas from Nandgaon come to Barsana. The next day it is the turn on the men of Barsana. There is a lot of dance and music and finally it marks the end of Holi festivities in Braj Bhoomi.
One of the most popular song sung here is…
Aaj Biraj mein hori re rasiya, hori re rasiya, hori re rasiya,
Hori re rasiya, hori re rasiya,
Aaj Biraj mein hori re rasiya,
If you have not seen the Holi in Barsana you haven’t seen India.