Rangapanchami 2024: Exploring the colourful festival that follows Holi

25 March,2024 07:34 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  mid-day online correspondent

Rangapanchami 2024: It is a widely celebrated event in Maharashtra, especially in rural areas and small towns. It is the pinnacle of the Holi celebrations.

People celebrating Holi in Mumbai/Atul Kamble

Rangapanchami is a colourful and happy holiday observed largely in the Indian state of Maharashtra, five days following Holi. While Holi is well-known for its vibrant colour play and festivities, Rangapanchami has its traditions and customs that set it apart from its predecessor.

Rangapanchami is a widely celebrated event in Maharashtra, especially in rural areas and small towns. It is the pinnacle of the Holi celebrations, giving an added dimension of excitement and revelry to the joyful occasion.

One of the primary differences between Holi and Rangapanchami is the timing of the ceremonies. While Holi is normally celebrated across two days, Rangapanchami occurs precisely on the fifth day after the full moon, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. This typically occurs in March or April, depending on the lunar cycle.

Another major contrast is the way colours are used during Rangapanchami. Unlike Holi, where people engage in lively colour wars with dry or wet powder, Rangapanchami takes a more restrained approach to colour play. People typically smear one other with dry or wet colours, but the intensity of the colour play is usually lower than it is during Holi.

Rangapanchami has cultural and religious significance for the people of Maharashtra. It is thought to commemorate the victory of good over evil and the onset of spring, representing the regeneration of life and the triumph of light over darkness.

The holiday is observed with a variety of rites and traditions that differ from place to region. In various parts of Maharashtra, people visit local temples to worship and seek blessings for prosperity and happiness. Others attend community gatherings and cultural events, singing and dancing to traditional folk tunes.

One of the most well-known Rangapanchami ceremonies is the breaking of an earthen pot filled with buttermilk or yoghurt. Similar to the famed Dahi Handi celebration in Maharashtra, participants build human pyramids to reach and destroy a pot held from a height. The person who successfully breaks the pot is declared the winner and is presented with rewards or praise.

Food also plays an important role in Rangapanchami celebrations, with families making unique dishes and sweets to share with family and neighbours. Traditional delicacies like puran poli, shrikhand, and poori bhaji are popular during the festivities.

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