Happy Holi: Colours of the Kumaon Spring

A spotlight on the Festival of Colours in Bageshwar, Uttarakhand

About the Video: Communities in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand state in Northern India are celebrating the end of yet another bitter winter and the coming of spring. For the next month, the region will be held in trance of the festivities that mark Holi, the festival of colour and life. People gather in courtyards of holy temples, throw colored powder and spray colored water on each other. Festive processions are taken from one temple to another. Young men compete in displays of skill and strength. Folk songs - spiritual, funny and downright bawdy, are sung to the ethereal notes of classical ragas. Food and intoxicants add to the giddy fever of early spring. The last of the fog disappears over the horizon and the hills come alive with the sound of music.

Community Correspondent says: When reached over the phone, Community Correspondent Vipin Joshi from Bageshwar, Uttarakhand informs that he is currently in the midst of the festivities. He is with his closest childhood friends. His laughter seems uncontrollable and infectious. He can barely hold his attention on the call. “Happy Holi,” he screams. When asked a question about the folk songs of Holi, he replies with a few melodious notes in high tenor. When the question is reiterated his cell phone falls silent with a few beeps. He has been unreachable since. We wish him and his community a very happy Holi.

The Issue: Our Community Correspondent observes in the video that with each passing year the number of people coming together to celebrate Holi has been steadily decreasing. As Holi is the festival of love, he pauses to wonder if the falling numbers are a sign of fading love.

The Kumaoni Holi is one of biggest celebrations of Holi across the country. The festivities are divided into three parts- Baithaki or sitting Holi (a sombre holi of spirituality and music), Khari or standing Holi (the holi of excitement, colour, spirituality and music) and Mahila or the women’s Holi. The myth behind Holi signifies the victory of good over evil and it also marks the start of the sowing season. The Kumaon region is predominantly agrarian and hence, Holi is one of the most important festivals for the community.

Call To Action: Happy Holi! Holi Mubarak!

Holi ke din, dil mil jaate hain, rangon mein rang mil jaate hain....(It is the day of Holi, when hearts meet hearts and colour meets colour.....)

-          Popular Bollywood Song  from the film Sholay

About Community Correspondent: According to Vipin Joshi, tourism and development has been a curse for the Kumauni community of Uttrakhand.  Instead of benefiting from the money it was bringing in, the community began to lose its land and livelihood. The media reports on the construction of the dam but there’s no mention of the people who have lost their lands; the tourism department paints a colorful picture but the environmental costs are never mentioned. Having worked in community radio, Vipin is familiar with the influence of community media. He now wants to use community video to document his people, tell their stories and use it to make an impact within his community. Watch Vipin’s videos here.

Related Links:-

HoliFestival.Org - The Legend of Holi

Kumaoni Holi

Holi Ke Din Song Sequence from Sholay

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