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Monday, March 25, 2013

On why labourers and workers in Gujarat take a fortnight's break for Holi

Pic courtesy: Bell Bajao! (Breakthrough’s Bell Bajao! launched in India in 2008, is a cultural and media campaign that calls on men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence. The campaign seeks to reduce domestic violence and to highlight the role that men and boys can play in reducing violence. Read more here.)

I've often wondered why house, office and factory staff want a fortnight off for Holi, essentially a two-day Hindu festival. According to the book, India Guide Gujarat, "The period surrounding Holi is an important time for Gujarat's tribal communities, many members of which work as laborers in other cities. They leave their job sites and return to their villages to join the ceaseless folk dancing and festivities. Each community celebrates with its own traditions. For example, at the Dhuleti fair in Bhagoria (Chhota Udepur) people walk on hot ash from the previous night's bonfire. In the Teliyo Mela, women massage their husbands with oil and then push them into the local lake to catch fish. The gesture symbolizes their love while the catch doubles as dinner. You can visit villages around Panchmahal, Poshina, Chhota Udepur, Rajpipla and Saputara to experience a variety of Holi celebrations."

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