Dola Purnima (Holi)
Regionl : Throughout Orissa
Falls In : Falguna Purnima or Phalguna (March)
According To Puranic Texts : Basantotsaba or Spring Festival
Duration : Five Days
Dolapwnima or Holi is the most famous spring festival of India. Usually celebrated in March. It has special properties in its celebration in Orissa where it is a five day affair, especially in the rural areas. The images of Krishna are worshipped form Dashami (10th day of the bright fortnight) to the full moon day.
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 Orissa. It starts from the tenth day of the bright fortnight of the month of
Falguna known as "Fagu Dasami". Smearing the heads with 'Abira' (a violet coloured powder) the people take round the idols of
Madanamohana in richly decorated palanquins known as "Veemana".
The procession is led by village drummers, pipers and the 'Sankirtana
Mandalis'. The procession halts in front of each household and the deity is offered 'Bhog'. The daily rounds of the deity for the four days are 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 was calculated from the spring-season. After the swinging festival of the deities, the 'Ganaka' or 'Jyothisha' (astronomer-cum-fortune teller) reads out the new Oriya almanac and narrates the important events that are to take place during the year. For this reason, some are of opinion that this festival is purely to celebrate the New Year.
The Legend of the Holi
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, 'Holika' was the most beautiful sister of 'Hiranyakashyapu', the demon-king. As an ardent devotee of Shiva she got the boon that she would never die of drowning or burning.
As a reminiscent to this, the Holipoda is celebrated and the next day is the festival of colors 'Holi', in which people smear colour powders on each other's face and head and squirt
coloured waters. There is much fun and merriment in the festival.