Holi is a celebration that is enthusiastically observed throughout India. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy with religious rituals in the Baishnab Math established by Sri Sri Madhavdev in Barpeta, Assam. On the occasion of Holi, the whole city of Barpeta comes alive and celebrates the Daul festival. Many programmes are being used to mark the three-day Daul celebration and a lot of people gather for the occasion.
The Holi of Barpeta Satra of Assam is particularly noteworthy. At this big Holi celebration, thousands of people take part. On the occasion of Holi, songs dedicated to Radha Krishna are sung. Various types of programs like – Ghosha Kirtan, Daliya Bargeet, Mati Akhra, Folk songs, Satriya dance, Krishna dance, Daliya Holi dance, Khol Vadan, Bhortal dance, Bargeet, Jhumur dance, folk songs, etc. take place.
It is worth mentioning that there is a historical tradition of religiously played Holi in the Barpeta session. A three-day colourful event marked the beginning of the Shri Krishna Daul festival on Monday. This place has a long tradition of celebrating Holi. Also, it has religious overtones. A large number of devotees reach from the states as well as other parts of the country to participate in it. Since Holi is wholly dedicated to Lord Shri Krishna here, that’s why religious beliefs among the colors, also attract people to themselves and entirely.
The three-day Shrikrishna Daul festival begins with the Shrikrishna Mahotsav Satriya customs and traditions.
On the day of the fireworks procession (Gondhayatra) in the evening, after the daily name ceremony in the session, the Daul (God) is taken out from the Manikut Griha (Bhaj Ghar) to the Chautal (courtyard) of the session, amid singing and drumming. While Kalia Thakur (Shri Krishna) is brought out of the main gate, Gohai (Lord) is made to sit on a large sarai (sizeable open seating area) on the floor of the session. The followers sing and play drums in the interim. At the same time, both deities are brought to Meji (fire) for ablution. The god is also made to circumambulate the Meji seven times. After that, as soon as the Creator is brought to the central place of the session, the fireworks get started. This tradition has been going on from a long time. To witness this, a large crowd assembles.
On the second and third days of the Daul festival, the ritual of applying Bhardaul (vaccination of Abir) to each other is performed. Bhardaul has started in today’s session, Tuesday. On both days of Bhardaul, daily Naam Prasang is organized in Kirtan Ghar from early morning. After the Naam Prasang, programs by older women like – youth Prasang, Bhagwat recitation, singing etc., are organized in Yog Mohan Ghar. During this, the Budhasatriya (priest) of the first session offers Abir and Rang to the Lord; after that, the tradition of devotees offering Abir to the Lord begins. A large number of people attend every year to offer Abir.
On the fourth and last day of the Daul festival, Phaguwa (Holi), the famous color festival of Barpeta, begins. On that day, the Lord is taken to Kalbari Satra, about one and a half km away from Barpeta Satra, to feed Hekta. After that, the deity is brought back to the Barpeta session. Various games are held again when the Lord is back in session, where men break the raw bamboo by having both ends. However, it takes a lot of effort to break natural bamboo. The game ends after breaking four to five bamboos.
Several competitions have also been held in Barpeta Satra during this occasion.