Villages close to Indo-Sino border in Uttarakhand don’t celebrate Holi for fear of ‘angering’ deity

Holi has a special significance in Kumaon and celebrations begin in December and continue till the day of the festival.

dehradun Updated: Mar 01, 2018 20:30 IST
BD Kasniyal 
BD Kasniyal 
Hindustan Times, Pithoragarh
Indo-Sino,Uttarakhand news,Kumaon region
Holi festivity in Nainital on Thursday. (HT Photo)

Every year when the entire country is celebrating Holi, over a dozen villages in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand refrain from smearing colour on each other. In fact, they ask everyone not to celebrate the festival of colours.

According to these villagers in Pithoragarh of Kumaon region, the ‘local deity’ doesn’t like colours.

Holi has a special significance in Kumaon and celebrations begin in December and continue till the day of the festival. According to cultural historian Padma Dutt Pant, Holi came in Kumaon region with the advent of Chand dynasty in the 12th century.

There are, however, some 24 odd villages, located in the lower parts of Munsiyari sub division named Talla Johar, across River Gori, which don’t celebrate the festival and deter youths from doing so. “In the past, something bad would happen every time we celebrated Holi. We then called on our deities, by enlightening them in the human body, and they said that they do not like colours and prefer to live in peace and calm,” claimed Tej Singh Papri, a villager of Papara village in Talla Johar region.

In most of the villages of Talla Darma region of Dharchula sub division, the people deterred from celebrating Holi as their deities do not prefer bright colours. “We have migrated from Nepal over 200 years ago, and have no tradition of celebrating Holi in our villages in Nepal as well as here,” said Ram Singh Dhami, a villager from Syakuri village of Talla Drama region under Dharchula sub division of the district.

“The festival is still spreading to remote regions of the Kumaon region. It’s only recently that villages in the tribal belt of Johar and Byans valley have joined the mainstream. Hopefully, rest of the villages will follow them,” said Pithoragarh-based Padma Dutt Pant.

Malla Ghorpatta, Talla Ghorpatta, Papri, Pakauti, Barniagaon, Harkot are a few villages where ‘Holi’ is banned.

“These ancient villages have been settled in the region much before Holi was introduced in Kumaon, therefore they have their own culture and deities other than the Vedic gods,” Pant said.

First Published: Mar 01, 2018 20:30 IST