Here’s a Holi celebration with a bizzare practice. In Sohana, a village in SAS Nagar district, the festival of colours is celebrated with carcasses of animals, one of the “dirtiest” Holi in Punjab. The village that has a population of about 30,000 has been practicing this tradition observing the festival by spreading carcasses of animals and hanging skeletons outside the houses in the village.
The pictures are macabre and have gone viral on the social media.
The bazaar and streets of the village on Holi resemble a jungle with carcasses, bones, skulls hanging outside the houses and scattered on the road, a night before Holi is played. But no one really complains.
Even though for youngsters it is more for “entertainment sake,” but for some “it saves the village from bad omen.”
Ranjit Singh, 30-year-old resident of the village said, “Hanging skeletons outside the houses, keeps evil spirits happy. We have seen our elders do this and now it has become a part of the tradition. No one knows when it really started but the practice has been passed as a tradition from one generation to another.”
The MC councilor of the area, Parminder Singh Sohana said, “Over the years the practice has waned. Most of the youngsters in age group of 18-32 still indulge in it for fun’s sake. Though we are moving towards eradicating this tradition.”
He added, “The village in ancient times comprised of people mostly involved in business of selling milk. The land was infertile and did not have much water. The villagers then had no money, thus they opted to play with ash.”
“It is one of the dirtiest Holi. Earlier people used to get ash from the cremation ground that was used to smear on faces mixed with sewerage water.”
Why such a Holi?
There are different tales that villagers narrate on how this practice became a tradition.
As per one tale the village witnessed an outbreak of epidemic on Holi, thus the villagers decided not to celebrate Holi. Since then the villagers are hanging skulls outside their houses to prevent bad omen.
Another tale goes that the village was “cursed” with poverty and to beat the curse, villagers started hanging skulls outside their houses.