Holi is celebrated as “Dola Purnima” which is a popular festival in the coastal districts of Odisha. Holi is a festival to welcome the spring among food and merriment.Though the festival of Holi is observed for a day with mirth and merriment all over the country, the festival is celebrated for five days in Odisha.
Dola Purnima starts from the 10th day of Sukla Pakshya or bright fortnight of the month of Falguna knowna as Fagu Dasami. People take round the idols of Madanamohana in richly decorated palanquins known as Veemana. The procession halts in front of each household and the deity is offered Bhog.The daily rounds of the deity for the four days is called Chachery. On the final day of the purnima the celebration culminates in a swing-festival for the deities.
The idols carried in veemanas from a number of villages assemble in an important place where swings are fixed on a platform. They are made to swing to the accompaniment of devotional music sung in chorus. In olden days the beginning of the new year is calculated from the spring-season. After the swinging festival of the deities, the Jyotisha (astronomer) reads out the new Odia almanac or calender knowna as Panji and narrates the important events that are to take place during the year.
On the fourteenth day of the fortnight there is a function in which a straw-hut is set to fire amidst much amusement and excitement. This is known as ‘Holipoda’ (burning of Holi).The legend about it is that, Holi was the most beautiful sister of Hiranyakashipu, the demon-king. As an ardent devotee of Shiva she got the boon that she would never die of drowning or burning. In spite of all heinous attempts Hiranyakashipu couldn’t kill his son Prahlada, the devotee of Vishnu Then he planned to burn him to ashes. As Holi would never get burnt she was asked to walk into the blazing fire with the child in her arms. Surprisingly the child came out unhurt but Holi was burnt to death. Enraged at this Hiranya asked Shiva about the inefficacy of His boon. Then Shiva replied, “I granted her the boon to protect herself, not to kill anybody.” As a reminiscent to this, the Holipoda is celebrated and the next day is the festival of colours ‘Holi’, in which people smear colour powders on each other’s face and head and throw coloured waters.
Holi, the festival of colours that depict victory of good over evil is celebrated with great fanfare and zeal across Odisha. It is observed for two days , the first day as Dola Purnima and the second day takes the shape of a carnival when people come together and colour each other with gulal or abir, savour special drinks known as Thandai and sweets and celebrate the day as Holi. You can learn how to make the Thandai Masala at home from here.
I have made a Colorful Thandai to celebrate Holi this time. For me , it is a time to unwind, relax with friends and family and celebrate the spirit of color. To make this colorful Thandai , you need to have mango puree, khus khus syrup, Rose Sharbat. This represents my idea of color…Yellow, green, pink and white for the Holi celebration