Lathmar Holi - The fusion of Colors and Traditions

Barsana can be rightly called the Holi hub of India. There is no place in the Indian sub-continent where the festival of colors is celebrated with such fun and frolic. The city comes to life with great enthusiasm as the festival is celebrated with a plot twist from the usual color pelting festivities. Lathmar in native language literally means getting thrashed with a stick. Wondering how a festival can be named with such a violent name? It is exactly the theme of Lathmar Holi of Barsana that makes it unique and different from Holi played in every other part of the country.

On this occasion, women are armed to teeth with sticks known as lathi in Hindi, and men are left to fend for themselves from being thrashed by women. And it is not an easy task as the fully charged women can pose a great challenge for any man with strong limbs and will. Needless to say, Lathmar Holi is a great occasion for family members and friends to get along and to have a great time without the usual pelting of color bombs.

Barsana happens to be the birthplace of Radha. Radha is the lady love of Lord Krishna. And so, there is even more enthusiasm in the air of Barsana every year during Lathmar Holi. Krishna, a mischievous romantic was well known for his pranks on the gopis. Radha, his childhood friend often fell prey to his mischief. In fact, it is said that it was Krishna who kick started the tradition of throwing colors and Radha was the first one to get all the colorful smears.

Lathmar Holi at Barsana is celebrated to replay the age old tradition. The women of Barsana on the decoy of taking revenge for what Krishna did to Radha chase men with lathis. The fun doesn’t end at that. Men are not allowed to retaliate to the thrashing until the next day where they take charge of the situation by drenching women in water followed by spraying holi colors made from native dyes.

With a riot of colors and smiles everywhere, Holi is one cultural event of India that stays ahead in entertainment more than numerous international festivals. Lathmar Holi is a festival that brings together people from all age groups and families; a festival that witnesses pure enthusiasm and laughter.