(by Padmashree Mohan Swarup Bhatia): Mathura and its surrounding areas are mostly known for their vibrant culture and celebrations of festivals. They celebrate several festivals associated with Radha and Krishna with great zeal and energy. The holi of Braj is famous all around India. The Braj holi celebration starts from the Falgun Amavasya all around the villages near Braj including Mathura and Vrindavan. This festival comes to its peak at the time of Ekadashi.
There are several songs that are of special importance at this time of Holi and creates an environment of devotion and singing all around Braj. Artists singing and doing dramas are dressed in traditional costumes and use classic language for the songs and dramas. This festival is of color, therefore, Braj is covered with colors specially its roads, people’s face and houses reflect the happiness of this colorful festival. All the temples of Radha and Krishna are decorated with lighting and colorful materials .
Braj encompasses the areas of several surrounding villages such as Gokul, Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana ,Nandagaon etc. All these villages together form the holy place of Braj . At this time people are very delightful and are filled with colors all around along with devotional songs. There is a difference in celebration of Holi at this place than the whole of India.
Different Villages of Braj celebrates this festival with their own mood and culture.In Jaab Village of Braj ,Holi is played between Jeth (Elder brother of Husband) and Bhabhi (Wife of Younger brother)
Mostly Holi played in Braj is representation of holi played between Radha and Krishna but in Jaab village of Braj holi is played between brother in law (Jeth,Elder brother of Husband) and sister in law (Bhabhi,wife of Younger brother) as representation of holi played by Balaram elder brother of Krishna with Radha Rani and other damsels of Braj.Jaab village is located between Kosi and Nandgaon of Mathura .Jaab village is related to Radha Rani and there is a village near it named Bathain .Situated about 50 km from Mathura, village Bathain is related to Balram.
This Holi of Jaab is known as Huranga, which is quite an aggressive form of playing colors. The best part is the power that is given to the womenfolk on this day where they can beat the men to their soul’s satisfaction. Procession of men from Bathain Village as representative of Balaram known as Hurihaare comes to Jaab village to play Huranga with ladies of Jaab Village who represents Radha Rani.Old aged men of Bathain Village wearing white cloths and white turban walks in front of this procession ,this is known as sardari .Like Royal King procession One person walks along with sardari (Old aged men) holding their Smoking Pipe (Hookah) in hands.This sardari(Old aged men) carries special sweet “Mauh Far” and people of Jaab Village gives much respect to this procession from Bathain Village.
When this procesion reaches near Radha Kant Temple then Old aged ladies of Jaab Village welcomes the procession by pouring saffaron colour on sardari (old aged men) because of this turbans of sardari (Old aged men) turns saffaron in colour. As return gesture most old aged man of Sardari offers that special sweet “Mauh Far” which is made up of sugar,black pepper,cannabis(bhaang) etc to those old aged ladies.
Other men of procession (Hurihaare) who walks behind sardari sings folk songs (rasiya) and reaches at big ground of village where ladies of Jaab beat these procession of men with sticks and these men safegourd themselves by taking shield of bushes of Acacia plant and like this both men and ladies plays Huranga for hours
Similar type of Huranga also happens in Bathain Village next day where Ladies of Bathain Village beats men of Jaab Village with sticks and these men safeguard themselves
After Falgun month another Huranga of Dau ji happens in the month of Chaitra, Charkula Dance etc festvities also takes place in this month ,in this dance veiled women balancing large multi-tiered circular wooden pyramids on their heads dance to songs about Krishna. Each pyramid has 108 lighted oil lamps arranged in a spiral.There is one common thing in all these festivals of Falgun and Chaitra months ,that all these festivals remains fun filled and with great enthusiasm both men and women takes part in these.There is special kind of smile on the faces of ladies of Braj which makes Chaitra month as Falgun month which is considered as month of Fun and Bliss.