“ The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Dol & Holi
In Bengal and Odisha, Dol Purnima is a major festival. This festival is dedicated to Sri Krishna. On this auspicious day, an image of Krishna, richly adorned and besmeared with colored powder, is taken out in procession, in a swinging palanquin, decorated with flowers, leaves, colored clothes and papers. The procession proceeds forward to the accompaniment of music, blaring of conch shells, trumpets and shouts of 'Jai' (victory).
Dol Purnima becomes all the more significant for Bengalis, because this is also the birthday of ChaitanyaMahaprabhu (1485–1533). He was a great Vaishnavasaint, who popularized modern sankirtana. He elevated the passion of Radha and Krishna to a high spiritual plane. He underlined the emotional at the cost of the ceremonial side of devotion. Followers of Chaitanya School of Vaishnavism, believe Chaitanya to be the manifestation of Krishna. ChaitanyaMahaprabhu believed that the essence of sadhana is always the loving remembrance of Hari.
Holi (Hindi: होली, Nepali: होली, Punjabi: ਹੋਲੀSindhi: هولي) is a spring festival celebrated as a festival of colours. It is a Hindu religious festival which has also become popular with people of other communities.
It is primarily observed in India and Nepal. It is also observed by the minority Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan as well in countries with large Indicdiaspora populations following Hinduism, such as Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States, Mauritius, and Fiji.
Holi is also known as Phagwah (Assamese: ফাকুৱা), Festival of Colours, or Doḷajātra (Oriya: ଦୋଳଯାତ୍ରା) in Odisha, and as DolJatra (Bengali: দোলযাত্রা) or Basantotsav ("spring festival") (Bengali: বসন্তোৎসব) in West Bengal and Assam.
Holi is of particular significance in the Braj region, which includes locations traditionally connected to the Lord Krishna: Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandgaon, Uttar Pradesh, and Barsana, which become tourist destinations during the season of Holi.
As per the Hindu calendar, Holi is celebrated on the PhalgunaPurnima (Full Moon), which comes in February or March in the Gregorian Calendar.
Vasant Panchami is the first and more minor of two spring-themed festivals in Hindu culture. VasantPanchami initiates the spring festive cycle and heralds its summation that occurs with Holi.The seasonal aspects of the festival are more significant in Northern India due to the sharper contrast between the winter and the spring, however the festival's religious and cultural significance are emphasized across all celebrating regions. In ancient Indian literature, VasantPanchami is associated with ShringarRas and the festival was celebrated in this tradition.Celebrations today still honor Kamadeva, his wife Rati, and his friend Vasant (the personification of Spring).
In modern times, however, VasantPanchami day is more commonly associated with MaaSaraswati, the goddess of learning, wisdom, knowledge, fine arts, refinement, science and technology. The Goddess Saraswati is worshipped and the day is treated by celebrants as Saraswati's birthday. People worship Goddess Saraswati to attain enlightenment through knowledge and to rid themselves of lethargy, sluggishness and ignorance.
VasantPanchami is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the bright half of the Indian month of Magh (spring season, January to February). It is celebrated as Saraswati Puja primarily over eastern parts of India, and as Sri Panchami in other parts of Bengal, and as the Festival of Kites in Firozpur. In terms of its cultural significance, the festival has been compared to Chinese New Year and the Christian Candlemas, with the subsequent 40-day stretch between VasantPanchami and Holi compared to the Christian Lenten season.