Holi Celebration in Barsana
A town near Mathura in the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh, Barsana, celebrates Lath mar Holi. Thousands gather to observe the Lath Mar Holi when girls beat up men with sticks as those on the sidelines become hysterical, sing Holi songs, and shout “Sri Radhey” or “Sri Krishna”. The Holi tunes of Braj Mandal are sung in pure Braj, the neighborhood language. Holi celebrated at Barsana is unique in the meaning that here women chase guys away. Provocative songs are also sung by males in a bid to ask the attention of girls. Girls afterward go on the offensive and use long staves called lathis to beat on the men, who protect themselves. This is how Holi is celebrated in Uttar Pradesh.
Holi Festival in Mathura
Mathura, in the Braj region, is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. In Vrindavan this day is celebrated with special puja and the traditional custom of worshipping Lord Krishna; here the festival continues for sixteen days. All over the Braj area and nearby areas like Hathras, Aligarh, and Agra, Holi is celebrated in more or less the exact same way as in Mathura, Vrindavan, and Barsana.
Ganga Mela in Kanpur
Outside Braj, in the Kanpur place, Holi continues seven days with color. On the final day, a fair that was grandly called the Holi Mela or Ganga Mela is observed. This Mela (fair) was started by freedom fighters who fought British rule in the First Indian War of Independence in 1857 under the direction of Nana Saheb. The Mela is held at various ghats along the banks of the River Ganga to celebrate Muslims and the Hindus who jointly resisted the British forces in 1857 in the city. On the eve of Ganga Mela, stores, all Government offices, Courts generally remain shut. The Ganga Mela marks the official end of “The Festival of Colours” or Holi in Kanpur.
Holi Milan Gorakhpur
In Gorakhpur, the northeast district of Uttar Pradesh, this day starts with a particular puja (Hinduism) on the morning of the Holiday. This day is considered to be the most colorful day of the entire year, encouraging brotherhood among the people. This is known as “Holi Milan” in which individuals see every house and sing Holi tunes and express their gratitude by applying colored powder (Abeer). Holi is, in addition, considered as the beginning of the entire year as it happens on the first day of the Hindu calendar year (Panchang).