The festival of Holi is closely associated with the ancient festival called Vasantotsava or Spring rites, since it bears close similarities with the important an age-old tradition of celebrating the arrival of spring. Vasanta Utsav is the celebration of the arrival of spring as it brings with it new life. Though this festival is celebrated in all parts other than south India, it resembles the legendry mythological Indra Vizha celebrated. This festival was celebrated as a day when people forgot caste and gender differences and were allowed many liberties, otherwise forbidden. And like any spring festival celebrated by ancient peoples all over the world, Vasantotsava also had certain rites. These include lighting up of fires, driving off demons, setting the normal orders in reverse, sporting something weird, having a community feast, and so on.
Vasanta Utsav is celebrated in a big way in Bengal started by
Rabindranath Tagore who celebrated Holi in his Bishwabharati University
in Shantiniketan as Spring Festival known as Vasanta Utsav, which is
celebrated in a very special way. As students of the university and
youths dresses up in bright yellow colorful dresses symbolizing the
color of Vasanta. They stage a number of cultural programs involving
group choreography, songs and dance followed by playing Holi with
'Abeer' (colored powder). Today, Vasanta Utsav has become an integral
part of the Bengali culture as it attracts tourists from India and
abroad. The rituals, which are followed in Holi has a resemblance to the
customs followed in Vasanta Utsav. Like the tradition of coloring each
other, taking out processions and greeting each other with sweets,
bonfire one day before Holi are all part of Vasanta Utsav celebration.
Vasanta Utsav has a close resemblance with the festival of Holi. This article discusses the close similarities between Holi and Vasanta Utsava.