Holi Hai!

warli bonfire

A heap of thorns, etc., are stacked about the first of the lunar- month of Phagun. This stack is made just outside the village on some open space. As the days go by and the Holi festival draws near, the stack of thorns and dried branches increases continually, for the boys keep adding to the heap to the heap of fuel day by day. In the centre of the stack of thorns is a high bamboo pole, to which is tied a branch of the castor plant (Ricinus communis.) Under the pole which stands in the centre of the Holi stack are some kouries or pice, and some turmeric. To the top of the pole is tied a sheaf of dried grass or straw. On questioning a gardener as to when he would sow a certain vegetable, he replied he would do so when the Holi pole (dōng) falls. His meaning was when the Holi is burnt. I find this is a common idiom — “ When the Holi pole falls.” The stack is set on fire by the village priest, who presents hom, at the village shrine, and he is often a Gond or a Baiga or one of the “aboriginal tribes.” The fire with which the Holi is lighted must be obtained from the chak mak or fiint and steel. No other fire will suffice. Some of the ashes of the Holi are kept and supposed to have power in removing evil influences of spirits. The People of Mungeli Tehsil, Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1905.

Fairly the same today.

Previous Holi posts.

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About Anu M

A potted history of Indian clothing and fashion.
This entry was posted in 1900s, Art, Central India, Colonial, Culture, Decorative Arts, Early 20th Century, Folk, Indian Aesthetics, indian festivals, Vintage Books and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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