Chhattisgarh: Villagers vowed to celebrate dry Holi after dispute over throwing of slush three decades back, today thousands enjoy waterless Holi

Deobhog: Thirty years back some people flung slush instead of coloured water on the occasion of Holi leading to dispute. This incident took place at a village Sitapali, about 10 km from Deobhog, on Odisha border. After this incident, the village elders decided to celebrate dry Holi.

Initially, people mocked the idea of dry Holi. But today thousands of people assemble in Sitapali to celebrate waterless Holi over four days.

Dry Holi famous in nearby villages

Sitapali is a small village having total population of only about 350. Situated at about 10 km from Deobhog tehsil headquarters in Chhattisgarh’s Gariband district, the dry Holi of this otherwise nondescript village has become famous in the nearby areas.

Village head Rohit Patel, elders Kamorao Kashyap and Rajendra Agrawal informed that 30 years back the two groups of youths had clashed after someone threw mud and slush on Holi. They even physically assaulted each other. They had to make rounds of police station and court for several years.

The incident took place in 1989. Next year in 1990, a meeting was held which was attended by village elders. The then sarpanch Baluram Agrawal, Damrudhar Manjhi and Karuna Soni (all now deceased) prepared an outline of how dry Holi would be celebrated. All the villagers agreed to celebrate dry Holi. This has also served to conserve water during the dry season.     

To ensure the Holi celebrations are satvik, there is ban on consumption of meat and liquor. Religious programmes and ceremonies begin in the village five days before the festival.