Laddu Mar Holi: Unraveling The Secrets Of This Age-Old Tradition
Image Credit: Laddu mar Holi

Holi, being celebrated on March 8 this year, is the day of the victory of good over evil. A day prior to the pomp and show, Holika Dahan takes place, wherein the effigy of Holika is burned. Each region and culture has its own set of Holi practises and rituals. One of them is Laddu Mar Holi, which is celebrated prior to the actual event.

What is Laddu Mar Holi?

An annual celebration that is believed to have been going on for ages, ever since the dwapar yug of the Vedas, this special kind of pre-Holi takes place in Barsana every year. People throw ladoos, a kind of sweet prasad prepared for the bhog, on each other as part of the ritual. How and why did it begin?

Legend has it that the invitation for playing Holi was sent from Barsana, a small town near Mathura where Radha lived, to Nandgaon, another small village where Krishna’s father lived. When the invitation was received, Krishna’s father, Nandbaba, happily accepted it. He dispatched a priest from his village to Barsana with the acceptance letter for the invitation. He was welcomed with a lot of respect and honour and served a platter of ladoos in a thali.

During his visit, some Gopis, as they were called, playfully threw colours at the priest. Since the priest did not have any colours readily available at hand, he decided to smash the ladoos that he was eating at them. That’s how the tradition of playing Laddu Mar Holi began in Barsana and has been followed. Till date, an invitation is taken to Nandgaon, after which the acceptance is sent by a sakha or priest who is well-treated before the laddu holi begins. While the laddus continue to be served as an auspicious prasad to the deity while chanting hymns of Radha and Krishna, it is the practise of throwing laddus that never gets old.

In fact, not just this, but a day after Laddu Mar Holi, Lathmar Holi is also celebrated in the region, wherein women beat men with sticks, which is followed based on another interesting tale of Radha and Krishna.