Due to the fast paced lives and urbanisation, Shimga is one of the festivals of Maharashtra that is vanishing from the cities. However, small villages like Kodavali in ratnagiri are keeping the candle of Konkani culture burning and are the best places to witness the unique Holi celebrations in India.
The festivities of Holi are not restricted to the northern parts of India. In fact, this Queen of Indian festivals is celebrated with much enthusiasm in the western states as well. In Maharashtra, specific to kokan region(Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg) locals have a unique and grand way of observing this joyous occasion of Shimga. Unlike the Northern states, the people of Kokan in Maharashtra celebrate Shimga festival five days after Phalgun Poornima. On this day, the natives drench each other with brilliant colours and immerse themselves in the spirit of carefree merrymaking.
Here are some of the aspects of a Konkani Holi that make it special and spectacular.
1. Holika Dahan or the Holi Bonfire
The preparations for the festival kick off a week prior to the event, when youngsters of the community start collecting firewood for the Holi bonfire. On the eve of Shimga, the entire neighbourhood gathers at one place and a massive bonfire is lit. People exchange warm greetings and wish each other a happy Holi. This activity is termed as Holika Dahan in the native tongue and the flames of the fire symbolise the victory of good over evil.
2. Welcoming the Season of Spring
The dates of the festival of Holi coincide with the culmination of spring. People clad in elaborate costumes play with colours and perform folk dance and music to welcome the season of Basanta, which is the month associated with fertility and prosperity. A peculiar high-pitched sound is produced by striking the mouth with the hands, so as to offer a resounding ovation to spring. The fisher-folk of the region also partake in the festivities by singing and dancing.
3. The Delectable Cuisine of Holi
The celebrations of Holi are incomplete without indulging in mouth-watering sweets and delicacies. In Maharashtra, Puran Poli is the famous dish that is prepared in every household on the occasion of Holi. It is a delicious flatbread with a sweet stuffing of jaggery and lentils that melts in the mouth. People also treat themselves to tumblers of freshly extracted sugarcane juice and slices of watermelon, which are particularly enjoyed by the children.
4. The Lively Processions
Kokani people celebrate Shimga festival in such a way that GOD arrives at our own house. Locals believe that Shimga represents the arrival of God and therefore carry idols of the deities to their houses in Palkhis or palanquins. Villagers decorate their houses with paintings and also make various floral designs or rangoli on the entrance of their homes.
The villagers here celebrate Holi with God in a Palkhi and bring it everyone’s house so that they together can pray for the wellbeing of the families. A colourful procession of people of all castes and creeds dances alongside the Palkhis with staunch devotion. They seek blessings from the Gods and pray for the well-being of their families. This ritual is one of the dying traditions of Maharashtra that is being kept alive by the small towns of the Ratnagiri district, such as Kodavali.
5. A Kaleidoscope of Colours
The fifth day of Shimga is called Rang Panchami and is reserved for playing with colours. People of all ages come together to smear each other with natural colours made from herbal ingredients like Neem, Kumkum, and Haldi. These herbs have valuable medicinal properties and cure several ailments like viral fever and cold. In this manner, Konkani Holi ensures that the environment is not polluted by colours produced using harsh chemicals.
In Konkan People decorate their houses with paintings and also make various floral designs on the entra
nce of their homes. Family members, friends and relatives exchange greetings and gifts between each other.
People decorate their houses with paintings and also make various floral designs on the entrance of their homes. Family members, friends and relatives exchange greetings and gifts between each other.
Here people celebrate this festival in such a way that GOD arrives at our own house. The villagers here celebrate Holi with God in a Palkhi and bring it everyone’s house so that they together can pray for the wellbeing of the families.
Shimga is one of the popular festivals in maharashtra. It is celbrated on full moon day of Marathi Month of Phalgun which usually comes in the month march. Dancing with Palkhi is a ritual at the time of Shimga (holi) festival. This is popular in Ratnagiri district of Konkan region and is celebrated by all people irrespective of age, caste and creed. Shimga is celebrated in the period between the months of February and March after the holi celebration.
Shimga is celebrated according to each village tradition in Konkan from 5 to 15 days. It is the festival of color called Dhuliwandan in next day of Holi. The day of the Shimga Festival is celebrated with widespread enjoyment and fanfare. People enjoy to the fullest by throwing colored powder and water at each other all over the day. The colors are made of natural products like Neem, Kumkum, Haldi and herbal recipes which are considered to have a medicinal effect on the diseases like viral fever and cold etc. Shimga also supports to keep environment pollution free.
The day of the Shimga festival is also marked by wide spread processions and carnivals. On this occasion villagers take the charge to enjoy the festival by dancing on street by wearing traditional dresses. his is pre-Holi festival celebrated by villagers in Goa to bid farewell to winter and welcome spring. A colorful procession bearing deities on floats starts from the temples in the evening. The parade winds through the streets of Panjim to the sound of drums, flutes and folk songs. It comes to a halt only in the early hours of the morning.
Now a days some village areas becoming urban and you can see that this tradition is not followed as it was previous but in some towns in konkan still they celebrate with full of joy like Kodavali in Rajapur Ratanagiri is small place near Rajapur bus depot surrounded with beauty of river and scenery, temples. Villages used to do all dramas, dance in whole nights and be enthusiastic throughout