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Lathmar Holi of Barsana, Mathura

Lathmar Holi is the unique ritual practised during Holi in many regions in India. During this festival, women playfully hit the men with sticks while the men put colours on women.

Lathamar Holi takes place well before the actual Holi celebration. It takes place at Barsana in Mathura. Legend behind Lathmar Holi is closely associated with Lord Krishna and Radha. In 2013, Lathmar Holi is on March 22. It is said that Krishna, who is dark in color, was jealous of the fair-colored Radha. Krishna used to pester Mother Yasodha with questions on Radha’s skin color. Once fed up, she said to Krishna that he can change her skin tone by sprinkling color. Krishna and friends used this opportunity to create pranks on Radha and friends.

In Lathmar Holi, men in traditional dress from Nandgaon adorn the role of gops (friends of Krishna). In Barsana, women adorn the role of gopis (friends of Radha). The men reach Barsana and throw colors on women and the women fight back with batons. Both men and women prepare for Lathmar Holi in advance. Each year, new methods are employed in Lathmar Holi.

Next day, the men return to play Holi with women in Nandgaon.

Lathmar Holi is celebrated across several villages in Mathura. But the one at Barsana is the most famous.



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