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Happy Holi: Tan Rang Lo Ji Aaj Man Rang Lo

This article is written by Happy Holi to all Rafians. Tan Rang Lo Ji Aaj Man Rang Lo, Khelo, Khelo Umang Bhar Rang Pyaar Ke Lelo, Ranglo.

A vibrant splash of colors marks the iconic recall of this prominent festival of India – Holi. Celebrated every year on the Purnima (full moon day) of Phalgun (one of the months according to Hindu calendar falling between February – March), Holi boasts of more than one explanation to rejoice and frolic. Holi has religious significance for Hindus who celebrate the triumph of goodness over evil through this festival. Holi is also celebrated as ‘the spring festival’ or ‘Basant Utsav’, representing the end of chilly winters and the doorstep to the blooming spring season. Dulandi Holi, Rangpanchami, Dol Purnima, Hola Mohalla, Shimgo, Kaman Pandigai, Phagu Purnima and Lathmaar Holi are the various names of this festival that vary from state to state in India, marking the vast diversity of Indian land unified in a strong bond by this festival.

Happy Holi to all Rafians

Spanning for two days, namely ‘Dulhandi’ or ‘Holika Dahan’ (Holi eve) and Holi or ‘Dhuleti’, the celebrations of Holi start almost a fortnight before its eventual arrival. The local markets swarm with gulal (color powder in red, green, yellow, pink, orange etc.), Pichkari (water sprinklers), water balloons, variety of other color forms et al, to serve Holi pranks. The formal celebrations of Holi, however, inaugurate with a bonfire on Holi eve, also called ‘Holika Dahan’. The bonfire popularly corresponds to the Hindu epic of devotional excellence exemplified by demon king Hiranyakashyap’s son Prahlad, who was saved from similar fire unhurt by his venerated Lord Narayana, when king’s sister Holika tried to burn him to death. The consecutive morning marks the main Holi celebrations with smearing of gulal and relish of delicacies like Gujiya, Mathri, Malpuas, puranpoli, dahi badas, etc. Children and prankster adults however extend the tradition beyond simple spray of gulal and water to drenching each other with buckets full of water and use all kinds of tough colors, even silver and golden paint in fewer cases. The festival is also viewed by many as a chic opportunity to flirt around unchecked and romance. Thandai or pakoras mixed with Bhang (herbal intoxicant) is another typical feature associated of Holi celebrations, symbolizing the ancient tradition of pure enjoyment and naughtiness attached with the festival.

The traditions of celebrating Holi throughout India are as diverse as the colors that constitute the vibrant Holi. While people in metropolitans and cities celebrate spray of colors with feasts, dance and dholak, folks in Barsana and Nandgaon (the places associated with the birth and childhood of Lord Krishna) revive the classic Lathmaar Holi every year. While women in Haryana play the revengeful Dulandi Holi with their devars, people in Maharashtra and Gujrat form human pyramids to break pots full of buttermilk hung high on the streets. On the other hand, south Indians worship Kaamdeva (god of love as per Hindu mythology) to regard his sacrifice to evoke worldly interests in Lord Shiva.

The spirit of Holi is the same in all parts of the country, irrespective of the fashion of celebration in each area. The ‘festival of colors’ quite naturally enjoys national importance as the vivacity of colors unfailingly wins over hearts across cultures and religions to participate with equal fervor during this festival.

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6 Blog Comments to “Happy Holi: Tan Rang Lo Ji Aaj Man Rang Lo”

  1. mehtab says:

    Respected fans of Rafi Sahib,
    It is really a great pleasure for all of us that the world is being greeted through The art of Rafi Sahib was of so secular nature that he had the power to accummulate the people of all beliefs, religions, sex, creeds etc. at a single platform of music. His Holi songs are most HOLY for everybody.
    It looks fine to hear the programme of Mr. P. Narayanan. Such type of programmes should be held in every corner of the world. May God fill the power everyone of us for holding such type of programmes.
    Thanks to the Administrators also.
    –MEHTAB Mobile : +91-98157 03226, E-Mail :

  2. kalyani says:

    To all Rafians,
    In Bangalore a great event was organised to celebrate Holi and the unique event was organised by the popular Golden Greats of Kaushik Kothari group from Mumbai. We were taken to the yesteryears of 40 50 and the 60s where in our humble Gurujis songs were sung live by talented singers like Rana Chatterji and Mohd Aslam. Fahad also tried is best in the duets.
    Yes the organiser also mentioned to the packed audience of over 3000 that Rafi Sahab was the only male singer to dominate from 40s to 69. From the unfogettable 40s to fabulous 50s to swinging 60s melody ruled with emperor Rafi sir.
    The program was held for 3nights by singing over 100 songs to regale the stunned mesemerised audience.
    Well done to showcase the Holi of colours in the form of lovely songs.
    Many went for once more such was the quality of music.
    P.Narayanan 09886779557

  3. unknow1 says:

    In Mohd Rafi voice u will see all Holi colours
    happy holi 2 all music lover

  4. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Holi Mubarak to all Rafi fans……… There’re many Holi songs sung by Rafi Saheb, such as Nandlala Holi Khelen, etc…, he was super in each and every type of song sung by him.

  5. mohanflora says:

    Happy Holi to all Rafi fans,

    During the 50’s and 60’s many films had a Holi song as an “item”number especially after the advent of color films. In fact, there was a film in the late 60’s or early 70’s “Holi Ayee Re”.However, things have changed now and we see more of “phoren” culture in our films and our culture has almost taken a back seat. Rafisaab has sung many memorable Holi numbers including the most popular that goes Sara ra ra ra! Among other of his numbers are Holi mein hole hole dil dole(Insaan) and Aa Re Re Ra Ra Rang De(Biradari). Can you remember any?

  6. mohanflora says:

    HOLLA MOHALLA-Festival of war

    With shining swords, long spears, conical turbans and twirled-up moustaches, Nihangs gallop past on frothing horses, raising clouds of dust, as they celebrate Hola Mohalla every March in Punjab.

    Coinciding with Holi, the festival of colour, it reminds the people about the tradition of meaningful festivity, and displays the valour inculcated in the Sikh community by Guru Gobind Singh, who took to armed struggle against tyranny.

    The foothills of the Shivaliks in Ropar district of Punjab’s north-eastern region, especially around the historic townships of Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib, have, since 1701, been playing host to Hola Mohalla. Recently, the Indian government accorded it the status of a national festival.

    Guru Gobind Singh rechristened the Holi festival by the end of the 17th century as Hola Mohalla, to use the opportunity to train his forces in the art of warfare. Near the fort of Holgarh in Anandpur Sahib, his headquarters, the Nihangs, as the Sikh warriors were called, divided into two groups and engaged in mock battle.

    The military exercise, which was personally supervised by the guru, was carried out on the bed of the River Charan Ganga with the famous Hindu temple of Mata Naina Devi in the Shivaliks as the backdrop.

    Faced with the might of the Mughal empire, the guru felt the need to create a typical martial vocabulary, differentiating it from the local dialect, to ensure the permanence of chardikala (high spirits) among his men.

    Several words that were then considered weak were tampered with to give them a male gender and make them sound more militant. Thus, Holi became Hola. Similarly, the katar (cutlass) became katara, teg (sword) changed to tega, and barchhi (lance) to barchha. Certain other words were also changed to deceive the enemy spies — chane (grams) began to be called badaam (almonds) and roti (bread) became pershad.

    Subtly, Guru Gobind Singh also made another change. While celebrations of Holi, like that of Sater Lania for the Roman slaves, were restricted to the lower castes, Hola was associated with the revelling that followed victory over the tyrant.

    Amohalla (procession) to symbolise liberty, freedom, bravery and wisdom was made part of the celebration. Scholars have related that the word mohalla has its roots in the Arabic mahalha, which means a place for celebrating victory.

    Hence the festival, which was sectarian and reminded revellers of their slavery, was transformed into an occasion to celebrate victory. The tradition of spraying colour continued, even as Guru Gobind Singh began using this activity to train his men in the tactics of war.

    Once known as the Guru di ladli fauj (the Guru’s beloved army) the Nihangs are the main attraction of the present-day Hola Mohalla celebration.

    The Nihangs attempt to preserve their heritage and tradition by strict observance of rehat maryada (the religious code of social conduct). They still live in camps called chhaawni (cantonment), eat in iron utensils (batta) and move in formations.

    Hola Mohalla is an occasion for them to display their preparedness for war and exhibit their skills in martial arts. But one is not surprised to see a Nihang zip past on a motorcycle or a scooter. Jeeps, trucks and improvised vehicles called ‘Marut’ are also popular means of transport.

    The third day of the Hola Mohalla belongs to the Nihangs, who begin their preparations early in the morning with a bath and prayers. The various activities of the Nihangs, especially of the Budha (older) Dal faction, draw large crowds.

    People, including women, are seen in large numbers around the place where the Nihangs prepare phenomenal quantities of a concoction of cannabis, milk, almonds, sugar, and other nuts, to be served as pershad throughout the day.

    By noon, the Nihangs perform the bhog ceremony of recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib. Before the chhaawni of the Nihangs begins its movements, lambs are sacrificed. The meat is served in the evening as maha pershad.

    The Nihangs, who can perhaps claim to be the most photographed persons in this part of the world, sport their newly stitched choga (traditional robes) and shashtar (weapons). They pay special attention to the pharhara or dumala (their unique conical turbans) which help one to spot the Nihangs from a distance. These turbans are decorated with steel rings and circular symbols.

    Dressed in new saffron or deep blue robes, the Nihangs move from their chhaawnis led by horsemen beating nagaras (drums). Armed with their traditional weapons, the Nihangs pay obeisance at the historic Gurdwara Takht Keshgarh Sahib and proceed towards Gurdwara Guru-ki-Lahore, from where they eagerly rush to the beds of Charan Ganga, there to perform feats of daring.

    Though the festival itself is a three-day affair, the movement of devotees carries on for a full week, and hundreds of families come in trucks from as far as Calcutta and Patna in the East, Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, and Nanded in Maharashtra.

    For the convenience of these pilgrims, the local villagers set up langars (voluntary community kitchens) on all roads leading to Anandpur Sahib. Proper Punjabi food is served with utmost humility as pilgrims from all castes and walks of life sit together on the ground and eat.

    Some villagers organise resting places for the pilgrims. To date no major case of exploitation of the pilgrims has been reported, as sewa (community service) is conducted in the name of the guru.

    The equality in langars was the idea of the third prophet, Guru Amar Das, who made it mandatory for the Sikhs to eat at the langar before seeing him. The same applied to the contemporary Mughal ruler, Emperor Akbar, who had called on the guru at Goindwal Sahib. The community kitchen has since been called Guru ka langar.

    Two brothers of Village Barapind on the Chandigarh-Anandpur Sahib road have been organising such langars for the last 20 years. Gurmit Singh says he started the langar with help from the villagers who were reluctant, but now all he does is set up the place a few days before Hola Mohalla and raw materials like wheat flour, rice, vegetables, pulses, milk and sugar begin to pour in quintals. Womenfolk from nearby villages flock to cook while others take up the job of cleaning utensils. Young children are seen enthusiastically serving food to the pilgrims.

    “It is just impossible for me to keep accounts, all that remains is given to the gurdwara,” he says.

    On the second day of the festival, political parties set up stages to convene conferences and give a message to the people. Guru Gobind Singh also initiated this tradition of using a religious festival for giving out a political message and the practice has now spread to all melas in Punjab.

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