Cupid Festival

As the people get engaged in celebrating Holi by splashing colour on each other, many do not understand the essence of age old tradition of
Dola Purnima.

It is celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of Falguna (March).

The festival is also marked as an occasion to welcome spring welcomed.

This festival has been referred to in the puranical texts as 
“Basantotsav” or the Spring-Festival.

According to the Odisha Government’s Tourism website, some scriptures testify that the Madanotsaba, the festival held in honour of Madana or the Cupid was later transformed as the Dolatsav or swing-festival of Lord Krishna.

Lord Krishna is propitiated on this occasion as Madana Mohana. 
Description of the festival as Dolatsav finds mention in a number of Puranas and other Sanskrit texts.

 The Padma Purana says, "One is
expiated of all sins, who gets a vision of Krishna swaying in the swing."

The festival is celebrated for five days in Odisha. It starts from the 
tenth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Falguna (February-March) known as Fagu 'Dasami'.

Smearing the heads with ‘Abira’  the people take round the idols of 
Madana Mohan in richly decorated palanquins. The procession is led by village drummers, pipers and the Sankirtana Mandalis.

The idols carried in veemanas from a number of villages assemble in an 
important place where swings are fixed on a platform.

They are made to
swing to the accompaniment of devotional music sung in chorus.

In olden days the beginning of the new year was calculated from the S
pring Season. After the swinging festival of the deities, the Ganaka or Jyothisha (astrologer-cum-fortune teller) reads out the new Oriya almanac and narrates the important events that are to take place during the year.

For this reason, some are of opinion that this festival is purely to 
celebrate the New Year.

On the fourteenth day of the fortnight there is a function in which a 
straw-hut is set to fire amidst much amusement and excitement.

This is
known as 'Holipoda' (burning of Holi).

Origin of name Holi:

The legend about it is that, Holi was the most beautiful sister of Hiranyakashipu, the demon-king.

As an ardent devotee of Shiva she got the boon that she would never 
die of drowning or burning.

In spite of all heinous attempts 
Hiranyakashipu couldn't kill his son Prahlada, the devotee of Lord Vishnu

Then he planned to burn him to ashes.

As Holi would never get burnt she was asked to walk into the blazing 
fire with the child in her arms. Surprisingly the child came out unhurt but Holi was burnt to death.

Enraged at this Hiranya asked Lord Shiva about the inefficacy of His boon. 
Then Lord Shiva replied, "I granted her the boon to protect herself, not to kill anybody."

As a reminiscent to this, the Holipoda is celebrated and the next day 
is the festival of colours 'Holi', in which people smear colour powders on each other's face and head and squirt coloured waters.

There is much fun and merriment in the festival.

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