New moon day of Phalguna month ( Spring season) of Hindu calendar. This new moon day is special in the Northern part of Karnataka. It has got its own significance as it gives a start to the Holi celebration.
This is a small try to cover the pre-Holi celebration that takes in my home district Bagalkot, which is quite famous throughout India.
I hail out from an artistic town that gives richness to Indian ladies, Ilkal. Yes, I’m telling about Ilkal Sarees which are the result of the master-class art of weaving. Ilkal sarees increase the richness of Indian ladies, Just like Sarees Holi celebration that takes in most of the places of Bagalkot district takes place even in my Hometown as well.
Right from the period of Before Christ to until date android era, every creed, every human believes music is an asset of praying almighty. Halagemela is one such music procession that starts after Phalguna Amavasya. Almost every man in our town takes part in the procession every evening in their respective residential areas.
Each man will play kanjra (Halige) in their unique styles, beats. Kanjra is Avanadda type of Classical instruments, which is prepared by the skin of ox or buffalo (Nowadays with Polymer). This instrument gives a unique sound on beating with a thin wooden stick.
Halige mela is supported by Ghana vadya’s such as Tala, anklets, Jagate(bell), Ginchi (Anklets), which are all classical folklore instruments, which are of metallic origin.
Combination of Halige and other solid metallic instruments provides unique mesmerizing sounds. This attracts any music lover and Halige mela start immediately after Phalguna Amavasya and procession runs for 15 days until HOLI. This gives the environment of the bliss and celebration and showcases the unique musical culture of Northern parts of Karnataka.
Music and dance are always inseparable. Where there is music, there exists the Dance. We can experience it when you hear wonderful music of folklore. Especially; the one similar to Halagemela . The participants move their legs; shake their body by their own without their notice.
One such wonderful dance one should watch is the Banjara dance made by the Banjara communities of Northern Karnataka. They are special in their dresses, steps, beats and the way they celebrate this Pre Holi period.
This a mock of the somber, sorrow, fun mixed with the folk stories and lesson. Sogu is similar to mock plays. Sogu is where, men act as women and showcase the somber, sorrow that occurs after the loss of a family member or a friend. People often narrate folk story combined with the moral lessons in a funny style. This Sogualso runs for 15 days after Halige mela and it will be a treat to watch for all the lovers of Indian tradition, culture.
This is one more bizarre activity that is allowed by people only for 15 days from Phalguna Amavasya to Holi festival. Kids and men stole wood, cow dung cakes, rags, waste materials, plastic materials, dried fruit peels, and Waste clothes from the households of their respective colonies. They burn all these theft items along with Lord Kama (the god of Lust) on the day of Full moon day.
Even if their own materials get stolen, nobody will care, instead, people believe they lost their dirty omen and it will bless them prosperity. Phalguna Amavasyasignifies the start of summer and people in North Karnataka usually sleep on the terrace of their houses to bear the heat from this period. This enhances theft activities.
Unfortunately, the tradition of wood theft is wrongly utilized by few of cunning bastards to rob the houses, to attack layman in the night, to conduct burglary activities.
It is always great to be part of the different culture, customs, and celebrations. These all rituals, which are part of pre-Holi celebration, are nothing but a part of the celebration that contributes to our culture, the way of living, peace, and harmony.