Maharashtra’s position at the dead centre of the country has made us the levelling field for the customs and traditions from the North as well as the South of the country. It is for you enlightened readers to decide if that is a good thing or a bad one.
Because Holi for Maharashtrians is an interesting mix of the sombre and the boisterous, the rowdy and the reserved. And growing up Marathi, we have often found ourselves unable to choose a side of the spectrum. Pun intended.
1. What Holi? Say Dhulivandan!
Because for us, Holi is actually the evening before the colour throwing part. And saying ‘Holi is a holiday’ casually at work or school WILL invite pandemonium from the depths of Hell, we kid you not.
2. Do we actually feel sad for Holika?
In many Marathi houses, Holika Dahan is celebrated with more fervour than its more famous successor. The area is labouriously cleared, the bonfire is carefully prepared, the Naivedya is painstakingly made, nobody eats till the pooja is complete.
Often makes me wonder if we’re celebrating Prahlad’s victory or mourning Holika’s demise.
3. Showers are for shahana baals!
Because our ancestors couldn’t let go of Holika soon enough, the bonfire is used to heat water for bathing the next day. How many actually bathe when the rooster crows is a different matter altogether, but can’t blame our moms for trying, right?
4. Mums before chums!
So you thought you could set out armed with water balloons and pichkaris at the break of dawn?
NO. Before the madness can begin, you have to honour your elders and the many deities in the pooja ghar with a token gulaal application. Sanskruti FTW!
5. Khelo, magar pyaar se!
There is a prescribed quantity of colour (in millilitres) that should be found on your coconut oil-soaked body at the end of the revelry. There is a rationed quota of water balloons that is allotted (unless you can coax your friends to lend you some). And your mother’s wrath awaits you and your clothes if you exceed the bar.
6. These abominations.
Yes, we love sweets and yes, jewellery is cool. But I’m pretty sure the inventor of Gathi was under the influence of an extraordinary variety of Bhang when these were conceived! Because Life Goals = Type 1 Diabetes?
On the plus side,
7. Puran Poli!!
If you are anything like me, Holi is more about food than anything else. And Puran Poli, which UNESCO has declared the Best Dessert In The World, is the star of this show.
8. The original ‘Sarcasm’ page (Geddit?)
Holi and trolling are as tight as R2D2 and C3PO. From Hasya Kavi Sammelans to brutal lampooning in newspapers, the festival of Holi is the original roasting event!
9. Khelo Magar Pyaar Se Version 2
Maharashtrians have time and again been labelled ‘boring’ and ‘unadventurous’, but for all these insinuations, we are as distant from the murky side of the festival as it gets. So if less fun means being civil to the women and men around you, so be it!
What makes your Holi memorable, my Marathi homies? Let us know in the Comments (and remember to wear a near-pochha T-shirt and drown yourself in Parachute oil before the celebrations!)