Andhra Pradesh is one of the four South Indian states which is rich in its culture and tradition. The people of Andhra Pradesh are very hospitable and enjoy celebrating almost every festival with the same spirit and enthusiasm be it festivals celebrated at national level like Dussehra and Makara Sankranti which is celebrated across the country or be it the festivals that are confined to the state like Ugaadi - the Telugu New Year's Day - the day when they prepare Ugaadi Pachchadi and relish its taste only once in a year.
Holi - the Hindu festival of colors
Holi festival has gained much popularly and is is famous as the Hindu festival of colors. It is a festival that is enjoyed the maximum by the people of all age groups by smearing colorful powders (gulaal) on each other and spraying colored water on one another. As per the social importance, the festival signifies the beginning of Spring which is the most awaited season of the year. People across the country rejoice the end of dry winter season and thus welcome the spring season with much happiness and thus they express their joy by playing with the colors. All the people of the houseful irrespective of age and gender take part in the colorful play. In fact, Holi festival signifies love towards all beings irrespective of caste, creed, community and gender. The festival of colors is celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Phalgun which generally falls in the month of March as per the Gregorian calender
Holi celebrations by the Telugu people
Though the culture of celebrating Holi festival was not prevalent in the olden days in Andhra Pradesh yet due to cultural exchange and assimilation of culture, the festival started gaining popularity in the Southern states as well. The festival has its roots in the Northern states of India where it is celebrated for a continuous period of 3 days with a bonfire on the Holi day.
However, such a tradition of spraying colored water on each other as a gesture of rejoicing the beginning of spring season was prevalent in the olden days and was celebrated as Vasantotsavam. Later, when there was a exchange of culture between different regions of the country, the present way of celebrating Holi festival started gaining popularity in the state. Moreover, this carnival of colors on Holi is being mostly celebrated by the youth and children while majority of the elderly people are keeping themselves away from such a celebration. Children and the youth enjoy the festival the most and the celebrations are only limited to playing with colors but no bonfire as it is done in the Northern states.
As the festival is celebrated on full moon day, few people visit the famous Basara Saraswati Temple and as the day is considered auspicious they perform Aksharabhyasam for their children in the temple premises.
On this day some people spend time with their family members, friends and relatives and they mutually exchange sweets like Chandrakaantalu and sunnundalu and thus spend the day in good spirits which helps in strengthening their bonds.
Till the recent past people were much involved in the use of chemical colors but in the present days due to much awareness among the people to protect our environment from getting further polluted, the use of natural chemical free colors are being used extensively in view of not only protecting the environment but also for a safe festival to avoid health related issues which crop up due to the chemical colors used during Holi.
Growing awareness on eco-friendly Holi
As there is a growing awareness on the use of natural colors during Holi among people across the country so also the people of Andhra Pradesh too are much inclined on the use of natural colors in order to avoid many skin related health problems that arise due to the use of chemical colors and also in view of saving Mother Nature from getting further polluted. Gradually people are realizing the harm caused by the chemical colors to the individual and the environment as well, due to which people are shifting towards the usage of chemical free colors during the festival and thus are laying stress on playing a safe Holi.