Dol Purnima-Halloween of the West

“Holi Hai”

“Holi Hai”, is the most common voice that can be heard in the streets of India during the Dol-Purnima. The Indian Color Festival like the Halloween of the West but different from its baseline. What is Holi in the northern plains, Dhuleti in some parts of the West, Vasanthosavam and Ukkuli in Peninsular India, it is Dol Jatra in Bengal. I remember my first “Dol” festival with my brother and my father when I was 7. We played along the streets painting faces of each other with different colors and this is the day when you can paint any other person with “Pichkari” , you encounter in the neighborhood without any jinx. This ancient tradition starts the day before when people starts piling up dry twigs and leaves and prepare a statue of the evil and burns at night, locally known as “Nera Pora” in Bengali.

It’s very delightful to become  more enjoyable when local people gather around during the burning and dances with rhymes in their mouth, “Aaj amader Nera- Pora, Kal amader dol, Purnima te chand uteche, Bolo Hori bol” which means “Today is our Nera- Pora, Tomorrow is the Holi, Full Moon is over the head, and Lord Hari I Praise you”. The following day we celebrate from the morning.

I spent a considerable amount of time in Bengal, so  Dol Utsav is nothing new to me. I have enjoyed the frenzy, up close and personal. I remember Shantiniketani style of dol Utsav. The bout of euphoric celebration is bound to leave anyone mesmerized.

This year we celebrated the Dol Jatra at Varthur, Bangalore  on 12th  March 2017. It’s like staying to experience the “home-away-from-home”.

 

–Debanjan Majumdar

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