Holi Special: The Tradition of Lath!

The famous Lathmar Holi of Barsana and Nandgaon is one of the most popular Holi traditions in our country. Located near Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, Barsana and Nandgaon pay homage to Lord Krishna and Radha, the inspiration behind Lathmar Holi. 

Never failing to catch one’s attention, the Lathmar Holi is one in which a Lath or wooden stick is used to playfully hurl away the men who try to color the women during the auspicious festival of color, food, and joy. 

History of Lathmar Holi

Lord Krishna was a resident of Nandgaon while Radha lived in Barsana. 

It is believed that on Holi, Lord Krishna wanted to play and spray colors on Radha and her friends. However, when Krishna and his friends entered Barsana, Radha and her friends playfully greeted Krishna with sticks or laths and drove them out of Barsana.

As time passed, this became a tradition and in the present day, people enact the incident as a tribute to Lord Krishna and Radha. Every year, men from Nandgaon visit Barsana. When the males play or spray Holi colors on their female partners, they playfully hurl the men away by using a lath or wooden sticks. The men, on the other hand, use shields to protect themselves from the laths.  

Over the years, this has become a centre of attraction for many, and people from all over the world reach Nandgoan and Barsana to experience and participate in Lathmar Holi. 

The Lathmar Holi

The festivities of Lathmar Holi take place in the famous Radha Rani temple in Barsana, believed to be the only temple in the country dedicated to Radha. The festivities last for over a week, people dance, sing, and immerse themselves in color. It ends on the day of Rang Panchami, celebrated on Chaitra Krishnapaksh Panchami i.e. the fifth day of the second fortnight of the month of Chaitra.

Other popular traditions of Holi

Apart from Holika Dahan, people usually gather near the Holy river Ganga and play Holi, engage in the occasional indulgence of Thandai, a popular Holi drink, participate in song banters, and more. 

The other very popular Holi tradition in Uttar Pradesh is the Phoolon ki Holi or Holi with Flowers, celebrated in Banke Bihari Temple, Mathura. Phoolon Ki Holi is pre-dominantly observed on Ekadashi which falls a few days prior to the main Holi. On this day, the local priests and people use only flowers and petals to play Holi with each other.

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