SPLASH OF DRAPE COLORS FROM SONAJHURI'S BASANTA UTSAV

Holi, one of the most pious celebration ever - and at Sonajhuri, West Bengal the Holi festival gets a new definition and new beginning every year. Yes, you read it right, I am talking about the most-popular Basanta Utsav of Shantiketan. And the song that you start to buzz unkowingly is " ওরে ভাই ফাগুন লেগেছে বনে বনে" - am I wrong?

If we go by the books, it was Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore who started the celebration of Holi in Shantiniketan. The festival is called Basanta Utsav. Students usually dress up in spring colors and organize a huge cultural program for visitors. The usual playing with colors soon follows the cultural suite. It attracts a large number of foreign tourists as well. These festivities take place a day before the given date for Holi.

But is that all - no it's more than that. The pomp and splendor which the students showcase is breath-stealing. It can put your heart to stop with all the beauty which comes from the natural made colors - yes, only from the flowers and this organic holi is celebrated since decades. - So you see, playing with organic colors is not something new in fashion, Bongs knew from beforehand.

What my topic of today, I think most of you have guessed by the image and the title of the blog post above. It is not just showcasing my collection this season. I thought to take out virtual pen to showcase our rich culture which is seemingly fading in our next generation.

Take for example, our daughters and sons - how many times they have witnessed the colors of Bengal - how to mix with the neighborhood, play with children, or witness the real "dol". Sitting here in Austin, I think giving them a glimpse of our rich heritage and culture has been impossible - though we try to give our 100% and remake those old memories which are -deep seated in our heart.

Kids playing with color in Basanta Utsav in Saree

I so much wanted my daughters taking part in the Basanta Pheris (Early morning march on the Holi morning's) wrapped in the 9 yards or blissful beauty.

Though the drapes we have tried on has been mostly the cotton - that may range from Tant to Dhakai, Handloom to Kota. But hauling mother's wardrobe and wrapping yourself up just like the Shantiniketan birdies, putting "palash ful" on your artificial bun - was the get-go look of the D-day.

Sonajhuri, Shantiniketan - Colors of Holi for Sarees

It was predominantly the hues likes orange, the bright yellow , the greens and the reds. Oh my God, it was almost like the brigade of colors which one could have seen in our drapes. I think most of our patrons has started to agree with me reading this post. Hope, I am figuring our the right image of your childhood.

Trust me the girls in their ethnic wear along with boys in yellow ochre "punjabis" to orange color "fatuas" to persuade to dance into the tunes of the classical Rabindransangeet in harmony - I think I almost painted it colorful for you this time.

…. the floral jewelry on kids and women totally flaunt the naturistic theme… needless to mention they look pristine in the yellow-red attire. All the visitors are greeted with red abir smeared on their cheeks; in case you don’t want that a simple tika would glorify your forehead. The celebration began with dance on a famous Bengali song of Holi by Tagore “oo re grihobashi… khol dwar khol… laglo je dol”, followed by “ore bhai… fagun legeche bone bone” performed by kids and a dance-drama on Radha-Krishna’s romantic rigmarole over the festival of colours. Then there are folklore from various tribal regions in and around Bengal - that's the magic created by Sonajhuri, Shantiniketan.

I know you are definitely taken aback and I guess, it is not just the readers alone - they will surely share their story with their kids or the junior counterparts to educate with the memories which are slowly fading away.

What do you think? How was I about to end this - Thus a glimpse of the 2019's memories - this is a small feature I found online and was cherishing the same. It is from the channel of Soumyajit Bhattacharya. So, do a little hulabaloo while you sit and watch this one with your family, just like me.

Author Bio

Sumana Bhattacharya completed her Masters in Economics from the University of Calcutta & was working with the Department of Education, Govt. of West Bengal to provide training to the teachers in Government Schools. She moved to USA in 2005 after getting married & is the mother of 2 kids. She is the one that drives IndyVogue every day, every hour, every minute and every second. Salute to her and her undying spirit.

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