March Events

The Festival of Holi in India

The festival of Holi, also known as the festival of colours, is associated with several mythological narrations. It is celebrated in joy in spring, thanking for the harvest.

Colours, joy, and prayers of gratitude mark the festival. Holi is also a time for us to blossom into reformed selves, taking cue from mother Nature.

Here are few unique way of celebrating Holi in different parts of India.

GUJARAT


In Gujarat, Holi is a two-day festival. On the evening of the first day people light the bonfire. People offer raw coconut and corn to the fire.


The second day is the festival of colour or "Dhuleti", celebrated by sprinkling coloured water and applying colours to each other.


Dwaraka, a coastal city of Gujarat, celebrates Holi at the Dwarkadheesh temple and with citywide comedy and music festivities.


In Ahamedabad in Gujarat, in western India, a pot of buttermilk is hung high over the streets. Young boys make a human pyramid and try to reach it and break it. The girls try to stop them by throwing coloured water on them to commemorate the pranks of Krishna and the cowherd boys. The girls act as the Gopis who are trying to stop Krishna and the cowherds. The boy who finally manages to break the pot is crowned the Holi King.

KANPUR


Here, Holi lasts seven days with colour. On the last day, Ganga Mela or the Holi Mela is celebrated which is a grand fair. This is a unique fair as it was started by freedom fighters who fought British rule under the leadership or Nana Saheb. This represents the unity of the Hindus and Muslims who fought the British together.

GORAKHPUR


In this north-eastern district of Uttar Pradesh, Holi starts with a special puja and this day is called "Holi Milan". It is considered to be the most colourful day of the year and promotes love and brotherhood among the people. People visit every house and sing Holi songs and express their gratitude by applying coloured powder.

UTTARAKHAND


Holi in Uttarkhand includes a musical affair. People sing songs with a touch of melody, fun and spiritualism. These songs are essentially based on classical ragas. The colours used on Holi are derived from natural sources and are made from flower extracts, ash and water

BIHAR / JHARKHAND


Holi is known as Phaguwa in the local Bhojpuri dialect. Folk songs are sung at high pitch and people dance to the sound of the dholak.

ODISHA


The people of Odisha celebrate "Dola" on the day of Holi. The deities of Jagannath are taken in a procession called Dola Melana. "Dola yatra" was prevalent even before 1560 much before Holi was started where the idols of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra used to be taken to the "Dolamandapa" (podium in Jagannath temple).[64] People used to offer natural colours to the deities.

WEST BENGAL


Holi is known by the name of "Dol Jatra", "Dol Purnima" or the "Swing Festival".


The icons of Lord Krishna and Radha are placed in a palanquin and taken round the main streets of the city or village. Students wear clothes in saffron colour or pure white and wear beautiful garland of flowers. They sing and dance to the accompaniment of musical instruments, such as ektara, veena etc. The devotees take turns to play them while women dance singing devotional songs. The men spray coloured water and powder at them.

GOA


Holi is locally called Ukkuli in Konkani. It is celebrated around the Gosripuram temple.

It is majorly celebrated as part of the spring festival known as Sigmo in Konkani. Holi festivities also include offering colour to the deity.

Maharastra


Here, Holi Purnima is also celebrated as Shimga and lasts for five to seven days.

Youngsters collect firewood and money. On the day of Shimga, the firewood is heaped into a huge pile in each neighborhood. In the evening, the fire is lit. Every household brings a meal and dessert in the honour of the fire god. Puran Poli is the main delicacy and children shout "Holi re Holi puranachi poli". Shimga celebrates the elimination of all evil. The colour celebrations here take place on the day of Rang Panchami, five days after Shimga. During this festival, people are supposed to forget and forgive any rivalries and start new healthy relations with all.

MANIPUR


Here, youths at night perform a group folk dance called Thagbal chongba on the full moon night of Lamta (Phalgun). Traditionally it used to be accompanied by folk songs and rhythmic beats of the indigenous drum.

KARNATAKA


In Sirsi, Karnataka, Holi is celebrated with a unique folk dance called "Bedara Vesha", which is performed during the nights beginning five days before the actual festival day.

JAMMU & KASHMIR


Holi celebrations are a high-spirited festival to mark the beginning of the harvesting of the summer crop. People celebrate by throwing coloured water and powder and there is lots of singing and dancing.

PUNJAB AND HIMACHAL PRADESH


During Holi in Punjab, walls and courtyards of rural houses are enhanced with drawings and paintings similar to rangoli in South India. This art is known as chowk-poorana or chowkpurana in Punjab and is usually done by the peasant women of the state. In courtyards, this art is drawn on cloth. The art includes drawing tree motifs, flowers, ferns, creepers, plants, peacocks, palanquins, geometric patterns along with vertical, horizontal and oblique lines. These arts symbolize the arrival of spring.
Folk theatrical performances known as nautanki also take place during Holi.

DIY - Organic & Safe Holi Colours
Pichkari (wealth out of waste)
(Water jets)

This activity helps the children to understand the Legend of Krishna and Radha in connection with Holi;

One day, Krishna complained to his mother Yashoda about the injustice of nature which made Radha so fair and he so dark. To pacify the crying young Krishna, Yashoda asked him to go and colour Radha's face in whichever colour he wanted.

In a mischievous mood, naughty Krishna heeded the advice of mother Yashoda and applied colour on her beloved Radha's face; Making her one like himself.

Somehow, the lovable prank of Krishna where he applied colour on Radha and other gopis using water jets called pichkaris gained acceptance and popularity. So much so that it evolved as a tradition and later, a full-fledged festival. Till date, use of colours and pichkaris is rampant in Holi.

Now, let us see how to make pichkaris using empty (use and throw) water bottles and play with friends splashing the colour water.

Values Inculcated:
  • To make useful art from waste.

Preparatory effort :
  • Prepare coloured water to splash (check our video on how to make organic coloured water at home with ingredients available in kitchen)

Materials Required:
  • Old used empty water bottle
  • Compass from geometry box to make holes
  • Decoration paper/stockers to decorate outside of bottle
  • Coloured water to fill the bottle

Method:
  1. Take old water bottles
  2. Make small holes on the lid with compass
  3. Decorate the bottle
  4. Fill coloured water, close the lid
  5. Go to open space with your friends and splash the colour water.

Holika Ka Dahan

This collage activity is an interesting way to introduce children, the mythological connotations of Holika Dahan.

Holi has different mythological connotations in different parts of India. The most popular relates to an ancient demon king in India known as Hiranya Kashipu. He was a cruel and tyrannical ruler. His son Prahalad was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. This infuriated his father who tried hard to get him to stop worshipping Vishnu. When all his efforts failed, Hiranya Kashipu decided to kill Prahlad. He tried various ways , including getting him to jump off a steep cliff and being trampled by an elephant, but Lord Vishnu saved him every time. Eventually Hiranya Kashipu called his sister Holika who had a boon that she would not burn in fire. Holika made Prahalad sit on her lap in the fire. But, this time, by Lord Vishnu’s grace, Prahalad was unhurt, but Holika was burnt to death.

Values Inculcated:
  • Instill intensity of Prahalad’s devotion
  • The victory of good over evil
  • Patience
  • Creativity

Materials Required:
  • Old newspaper (to spread while doing the craft work)
  • Card paper
  • Glue stick
  • Yellow, red and orange tissue or crepe paper
  • Brown colour paper
  • Twigs
  • Sticky tape
  • Holika & Prahalada picture (hand drawn/from old books

Activity:
  1. Cut a bonfire shape from card.
  2. Cut flames from the tissue paper.
  3. Glue only the base of flames to the card. (to add texture & to make flames look real)
  4. From brown paper cut some rectangular “log” shape sticks.
  5. Glue these to the bottom of the fire. Few real twigs can also be used. (to bring the collage to life and add more texture.)
  6. Stick/Draw Holika & Prahalad pictures as shown in the sample picture.

Paint and Celebrate

This activity helps to inculcate power of namasmarana (chanting the Lord’s name) in children.

Values Inculcated:
  • To carry out art from heart
  • Offering skills and time to Bhagawan
  • Power of Japa/Namasmarana (Repeating/Chanting the name of Lord)
  • Devotion

Preparatory effort :
  • Collect few real big leaves of different shapes.
  • Briefing Prahalad’s story

Materials Required:
  • A4 papers for drawing
  • Pencil for drawing
  • Eraser
  • Painting colours
  • Scissors
  • Big real leaves of different shapes

Method:
  1. Draw and paint leaves on paper (Children can use their imagination and draw any shape of leaves)
  2. Paint
  3. Add detail
  4. Write “Om Namo Narayanaya” on each leaf.
  5. Offer at Bhagawan’s feet.

WELCOME SPRING !
(DIY HOME DECORATIVE)

Holi, the Hindu "Festival of Colors” heralds the arrival of spring and the end of winter. Holi marks the welcoming of spring and is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

Values Inculcated:
  1. Art skills
  2. Understanding the significance of Holi
  3. Patience
  4. Creativity

Materials Required:
  1. Felt papers (Flower colours, green, white)
  2. Ice cream sticks
  3. Ribbon
  4. Glue
  5. Scissors

Preparatory Effort :
  1. To discuss about Holi, the spring festival.

Method:

a) Glue the ice cream sticks as shown.


b) Take three different colour foam sheets and cut out flower shape. Also cut out three stems of different sizes, three circles and grass as shown in the picture.


c) Glue the them on the ice cream sticks.


d) Cut a piece of satin ribbon and glue on the ice cream sticks as shown below.


e) Take a small foam sheet and write ‘Welcome’ on it. Cut it out.


f) Trace with a marker.


g) Hang on the wall.


By,
Sree Ranjani T R
(Balavikas Group III Student)

Holy Holi Cards
(Bring nature into your Holi celebrations with leaf printed Holy cards)

Values Inculcated:
  1. Learning to Love nature
  2. Creativity
  3. Patience
  4. Art and craft skills

Materials Required:
  1. Leaves, flowers
  2. Card (medium size)
  3. Paint (bright colours)
  4. Paint brush
  5. Pallette or plate
  6. Newspaper

Method:
  1. Choose leaves that are still fresh and pliable. Leaves that are dried will not work, as they'll snap and crumble when pressed or worked on.
  2. Lay newspapers down to protect your work surface.
  3. Squeeze a little paint onto a small plate or palette.
  4. Paint the surface of the leaf with paint.
  5. Gently flip the leaf paint side down onto the card.
  6. Peel the leaf from the card and you should have a printed mirror image of your leaf/petal.
  7. Vibrant Holi card is ready!
Holi Tree

Springtime is the season of colour and life returning to nature which is most certainly a reason to celebrate! Spring marks the end of the cold months and the arrival of warm sunny days. This has been a reason for celebration for centuries around the world either through religious or cultural influences.

This is a lovely craft to do with younger children. Decorating the Holi tree with lot of bright colours that marks the spring.

Values Inculcated:
  • Patience
  • To see beauty in colours

Materials Required:
  • Tissue paper scraps or colour crepe paper
  • Glue
  • White card paper
  • Brown handmade chart

Method:
  1. Draw and cut trunk shape from brown paper and glue to the card.
  2. Scrunch/Crush up scraps of multi coloured crepe/tissue paper and glue them on / around the branches (as shown in the picture above).

Remember Holi

This memory game on Holi theme will help the children to understand the various mythological and cultural backgrounds of Holi.

Values Inculcated:
  • To teach the spiritual essentials and non-essentials of a festival.
  • Improving memory skills.

Materials Required:
  • Papers
  • Pens/ Pencils.
  • Prepare master list connected to Holi. (Holi related words to be discussed in class before.)
  • Number of words according to no. of children in the group.
  • Timer

Preparatory Effort:
  • Briefly tell the children the various mythological and cultural backgrounds of Holi.
  • Prepare individual lists according to no. of children.
  • Each individual list should have atleast 3/ 4 words missing from the master list.

Colour Flowers Leaves Spring Fire
Holika Prahalada Radha Krishna Pichkari (water gun)
Colour water Red Green Blue Yellow
Children Splash Joy Prosperity New Beginning
Game:
  1. Show master list to the children for a brief period of time (for e.g. 3 minutes).
  2. Each child should pick one individual list.
  3. take the master list from children
  4. start timer. (e.g 2 min.)
  5. children should fill in the missing words in their individual list.
  6. child / children with maximum correct words on their individual sheet win the game.

Holy Holi Colours

Highlight the significance of primary colours of holi; RED reflects love and prosperity, BLUE is the colour of Krishna, YELLOW is the colour of turmeric which signifies auspiciousness, GREEN symbolises spring and new beginnings.

Values Inculcated:
  • To appreciate the Holi colours.
  • To understand the significance of primary colours of Holi
  • RED reflects love and prosperity.
  • BLUE is the colour of Krishna.
  • YELLOW is the colour of turmeric which signifies auspiciousness.
  • GREEN symbolises spring and new beginnings.

Materials Required:
  • Coloured thermocol balls/beads of different colours.
  • Primary colours balls/ beads mandatory (red, blue, yellow & green) .
  • Many cards (depending on number of children), numbered from 1 to 10.
  • Basket/bowl

Preparatory Effort:
  • bonus points for collecting Primary Holi colours.

Game:
  1. Shuffle the cards and ask the children to pick up as many cards within the given time. (e.g. 3 min)
  2. Start the timer.
  3. Child/ children should pick up a card.
  4. Child/ children should collect as many balls/ beads according to the number on the card.
  5. ONCE DONE child/ children pick up the next card & start collecting balls/beads, TILL THE TIMER GOES   OFF.
  6. Check for NO. OF BALLS/BEADS COLLECTED.
  7. Primary Holi colours balls/ beads get Bonus point.
  8. Child/ Children with most points win the game.

Colour Mela

The Holi festival of colours is also known as the festival of love and unity.

Values Inculcated:
  • Alertness with improved listening skills
  • Unity

Materials Required:
  • Chalk piece /markers
  • Music player (alternatively guru can sing bhajans)

Preparatory Effort:
  • Draw a circle on floor
  • Size should be small for small group and big for large group.

Game:
Team size: minimum 15 - 20 children
  1. Divide the children into groups of almost equal size.
  2. Assign a colour (red/blue/green/yellow) to each group.
  3. Music/Bhajan should start playing in the background
  4. Children will go around the circle.
  5. After few rounds the Guru will call out the colour.
  6. Children who belong to that colour group should get inside the circle. If Red is called out all children belonging to the RED GROUP have to be inside the circle.
  7. If a child / children from the RED GROUP IS OUTSIDE, he/she/they are considered to be out of the game
  8. If children from other colour groups are inside the circle, they are considered to be out of the game.
  9. The game then continues till the next colour gets selected.
  10. Play till last six children remain.
  11. Group with maximum number of children becomes the winner.
Color Baba - Group I
Color Baba - Group II
Sketch Baba - Group III

Sketch by
Shriramya (Balvikas Alumna)

Maze Activity – Group I

Maze Activity – Group II

Maze Activity – Group III

Dot-to-Dot Activity Sheet

Significance



Ugadi is the New Year's Day for the people of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. While this festival is known as Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the same is celebrated as Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra. It falls generally in the month of March.

According to the Hindu Calendar, Ugadi is celebrated on the first day of the bright fortnight ('Shukla Paksha') of the first month ('Chaitra') in the first season of the year i.e., spring ('Vasanta'). This day is celebrated as the New Year Day in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. While it is called Ugadi or Yugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, it is celebrated as Gudi Padva in Maharashtra. The word ‘Ugadi’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yugadi’, which means ‘beginning of a new Yuga or era’. Legend has it that this was the day on which Lord Krishna shed His body, signalling the end of the Dwapara Yuga and the commencement of the Kali Yuga. It is also believed that Brahma created the universe on this day.

On Ugadi, it is the tradition to begin the day by partaking of a special preparation known as ‘Ugadi Pacchadi’. Six ingredients go into the making of this dish, each one representative of the six tastes – sweet, sour, spicy, salty, savoury and bitter. This reminds us to accept both the joys and sorrows that life offers us with equal mindedness.

Excerpts from Bhagawan’s Discourses

“There is no need to wait for a new year to bring new tidings. Every moment is new. Many are wondering what troubles and losses the New Year will bring. But the year is not responsible for all our troubles and difficulties. Only our conduct is responsible. If our actions are good, the results will be good. Bad actions lead to bad consequences. People think that good and bad are related to time. It is not that way. Their thoughts are the cause. Hence, they should develop good thoughts and do good deeds. They should cherish good feelings and associate with good people. People should realize the preciousness of Time. People waste most of the time available. This is utterly wrong. Time should be used always for right purposes. That is the foremost duty of every man. Waste of time is waste of life. The Lord of Time protects those who take refuge in Him, even against the Lord of Death, Kala. Time takes its revenge on those who misuse it. A nation's prosperity is dependent on how people use their time in the performance of good actions”.

- Divine Discourse: 7 April 1997

“Today is Ugadi, the beginning of the New Year. Since ancient times, man has celebrated many Ugadis, but he is yet to give up bad qualities. True Ugadi is the day when man gives up bad qualities, fills his heart with love and takes to the path of sacrifice. Do not limit the celebration of Ugadi to merely putting on new clothes and partaking of delicious items. Today you may wear a new shirt, but how long will it remain new. Tomorrow it becomes old. Nobody reads the same newspaper everyday. Today's newspaper becomes a waste paper tomorrow. Our life is like a newspaper. Once you have finished reading a newspaper, you do not like to read it again and again. You have been given this birth which is like a newspaper, and have gone through varied experiences of pleasure and pain. Enough is enough. Do not ask for one more newspaper, i.e., another birth. You should pray, "Oh God! You have given me this 'newspaper' and I have gone through the experiences of this life. I don't want to have another birth.

On this day of Ugadi, take a firm resolve to purify your heart. Past is past. It cannot be retrieved. When you are walking on the road, you should look at the path ahead of you. What is the point in looking behind? Likewise, there is no point in brooding over the past. Future is not certain. What is the guarantee that you will be alive until tomorrow? So, do not worry about your future. Live in the present. It is not ordinary present. It is omnipresent, meaning the results of past as well as the future are contained in it. So, when you make proper use of the present, you can be rest assured that your future is safe and secure”.

- Divine Discourse: April 13, 2002

“We will achieve victory in every walk of life when we foster good thoughts and good deeds. Today is the first day of the New year. From today onwards, all devotees must undertake his holy task. Past is past. Do not think of the future, because it is not in our hands. What is the guarantee that we will live until tomorrow? Therefore, this present time is very important. Make good use of it. Do not go against your inner self. That is what I tell my children, the students here, "Follow the master". Who is your master? Your inner self is your master. So there is no need for anyone else; follow your own inner self. That is your God. That is your happiness. That is your wealth. That is your peace. Happiness and peace are not outside”.

- Divine Discourse: 20 March 1996

Adapted from :
http://srisathyasai.org.in/Pages/AshramInfo/Ugadi.htm