The lath maar Holi in Barsana starts with” Laadu Maar” Holi. The council of priests and holy men throw laadu from the terrace. ‘Laadu” (traditional Indian Sweet) is a devotional offering made to the deity Radha Krishna. Laadu are believed to have the special blessings of the deity.
Procession from different groups starts towards the Radha Temple. During the procession, people sing, dance, play colors, chants loudly to share their joy and express their state of happiness.
As the procession does the village round, it halts at “Sankri Gali”, for further braj music, dance and chanting of the deity. Supposedly, under this tree the deity Krishna had played Holi with radha.
Devotees & worshiper are allowed to enter the temple court for playing Holi. As part of the Prasad, the council of priest and holy men color the devotee with dry and water color.
The playful mood of Krishna towards Radha is still practiced, so coloring all the women is taken in good spirit of Holi.
People smudge colors on each other and dance to braj tunes, few under the influence of bang and few in full spirit
Gopi’s dressed like a bride visits the temple to receive the blessings of the deity and then walk into the street with guards to protect them from colors as it’s a ritual to not color the gopi’s as they resemble the deity Radha.
Gop’s enter the street with a bang of slogans, chant and passing comments on the local men, as they have come to play lath maar Holi with the local gopi’s. The visiting Gop’s sets the Mood of the street. The visiting Gop’s are smudged in color as the local gops throw color on them in response to the comments. The visiting Gop’s test the metal of the local gops by comments and one-liners. Gop’s are in midst of making the instant one liners. Gop’s bullies and teases the resident gop’s.
Gops throw color on female tourist and on women visiting for religious purposes. It keeps the mood and spirit of holi high and taken as part of the culture. Gop’s enter the scene by teasing the gopi’s in playful mood. They pass comments on Gopi’s to light up the mood and environment.
The lath maar Holi starts with a dance. The Gops and Gopis dance together to express the joy of resembling Radha Krishan. The Gops invite the Gopis to play laath maar Holi with them and normally a pair of gopi’s takes turn to hit one Gop.
The Gops encourage the gopi’s to hit hard and fast on their leather shield. Between the hits, the gop’s expresses their mind and heart by making statements, smiling, singing songs in braj language, as it keeps the scene light and high-spirited.
Joy and tiredness could be seen together as the celebration comes to an end. Its over but the Gop will come back next year, year after…continues the relationship between the Gop and Gopi by playing Laath Maar Holi.