These days sun is in the phase of Uttarayana (Jan – July) Holi is the festival of Uttarayana. Uttarayana is a long period of dry heat, blazing summers and swirl dusty winds. During this uncomfortable season of heat, dust and winds the life withers and dies. The heat takes away moisture from all living things. It is also the season of ‘hot’ diseases and epidemics. The village minor goddesses such as Shitala (small pox) are ‘cooled’ or appeased (shanthi).
At the same time; Uttarayana is also the invigorating , new good healthy wealthy beginning. It is the time of harvest, gathering the fruits of your efforts. Uttarayana is also the northward noble path (Deva Yana) that leads the virtuous to gods; and, is therefore called Uttarayana Punyakaala. The old warrior Bhishm Pitamaha of Mahabharata lay in wait on the bed of arrows for the arrival of Uttarayana. On the dawn of Uttarayana the Grand-old Bhishma chose to give up his life. Uttarayana is the time of fulfilment, while Dakshinayana is the season of growing up.
Maha Shivaratri which heralds the true beginning of hot summers, as also the Holi the festival of colours marking the burning down of Kama are celebrated during Uttarayana. Shivaratri, it is said, is the remembrance, in gratefulness, of Shiva the Neelkanta who saved the world by consuming the deadly poison thrown up after samundraman manthan, churning of the ocean. And, Holi, in some parts of the country, is day on which the fearsome Narasimha killed the tyrant king Hiranyakashipu .
Many of the festivals in Uttarayana are in celebration of male gods. The season of six months from January to July is regarded masculine in nature, while Dakshinayana is the feminine phase of the Earth.
|we used to make these cow dung garlands when we were kida|