Holi is a festival of happiness and colours. On this day, people forget all their grievances and apply colours to each other and congratulate each other on this festival and dance and sing together. Not only with colours, in Mathura-Vrindavan, Holi is also played with flowers and Laddus and in Varanasi, there is a tradition of playing Holi with the ashes of pyre. Which is known as ‘Masana ki Holi’. This is a very different kind of Holi. If you want to be a part of this unique Holi, then you will have to come to Varanasi for this. Tomorrow, i.e. on 21st March, Holi of pyre ashes will be played in Kashi. 

Why did this tradition start?

It is said that on the day of Rangbhari Ekadashi, when Bhole Shankar brought Maa Parvati to Kashi after her Gauna ceremony, he played Holi with gulaal with everyone, but he could not play Holi with gulaal with ghosts, spirits, vampires, animals etc. Then he played Masaan ki Holi with his group in the crematorium just a day after Rangbhari Ekadashi, since then the tradition of celebrating pyre ash Holi started. 

How do you celebrate this Holi?

Masaan Holi is especially celebrated at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi, which is a famous cremation ground here. Crowds of people start gathering here from early morning. Groups of sadhus and Shiva devotees worship Shiva and perform havan. Dance is also organized along with bhajans and kirtans. Then Holi is played with pyre ashes. 

The celebration of Masan Holi tells us to see death not as a sorrow but as a way to attain salvation. If you have never seen this Holi before, then you can plan to see it this time. Trains and flights are available to Varanasi from most cities of India. Experience a different kind of Holi this time.