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Rhythm A Day Blog for March 9, 2020: Holi, India

Posted by Wolf Murphy on

Holi, India

So on this day, folk in India throw colored powders to coat each other with rainbow colors! Water guns and water balloons with colored water are fair game and everyone is a target for the joy—friends, strangers, men, women, children, and yes even elders. The rainbow fight carries on in the streets, parks, and outside buildings and even temples. Groups process with drums and other instruments and singing and dancing. 

What more do we need to know? I'm all in. Let's do this!

Holi Geet

Holi Celebration songs with Dhulki (a type of Drum) and taal (hand cymbals).
(Photo: Bhrigu bayan/Wikimedia Commons)

Rangwali Holi is popularly known as the Indian festival of spring, colors, and love. It marks the transition from winter into spring, as well as the blooming of romance. It is a day of joy and healing, of meeting new people and forgiving to improve challenged relationships. It also blesses the beginning of the Spring Harvest season.

It is an ancient religious festival, originating with the Hindus but popular with non-Hindus as well. These days it is celebrated bu those of Indian Heritage and their communities in India and Nepal—but also in Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa, Malaysia, the UK, the US, Canada, Mauritius, and Fiji!

Celebrations start on the night before with a Holika Dahan where people gather, observe rituals in front of bonfires, and pray that they will be purified even as Holika, the evil sister of a demon king named Hiranyakashipu, was destroyed by fire.

One customary—and intoxicating—drink shared is bhang, which is made from cannabis), which is intoxicating.

Indian dunder höga they are high as fuck

An industrial-sized super-rainbow-colors-soaker.
(Wikimedia Commons)

There are lots of videos of drummers celebrating Holi. I chose a couple from Goa to study because there was a really cool polyrhythmic drive to the music!

Today's Video Lesson

Notation Background Photo: Different colors for Holi Festival
(Photo: Teacher1943/Wikimedia Commons)


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