holi: pre-holi celebrations bring a sense of yesteryear back to the city | Kolkata News

Kolkata: Pre-Holi gatherings have already started in the city, indicating that devotees are already gearing up to celebrate the festival after a rather subdued Spring Festival for the past couple of years due to the pandemic.
Large makeshift shops have sprung up in various parts of Kolkata selling colors, water guns, masks and headwear that add color to the Holi festival.
Several organizations started organizing pre-Holi programs with comedy shows and music nights for their members a week before the festival. The government also lifted nighttime restrictions on March 17 for Holi rituals.
Holi and Dol celebrations have been low-key in 2020 and 2021 due to the first and second waves, with communities holding smaller programs as a precaution.
Shri Hanuman Parishad hosted a Holi Milan Samaroh at Mewar Banquets on Saturday night. It was attended by all members. “It’s also an opportunity to reunite with friends and family after a two-year hiatus for many of us. Since the cases have decreased and the restrictions have been lifted, we will celebrate the festival like the pre-pandemic days,” said Ashok Saraf, who attended Holi Milan Samaroh.
Several pre-Holi programs are also scheduled on Sundays.
“Several families from the same village in Rajasthan held a pre-Holi meeting at a banquet hall in Kankurgachhi on Sunday afternoon. There will be a comedy show followed by sweets, thandai and lunch. For the past two years we have really missed playing Holi properly. But this time we are going to play with the colors as we please,” said Jyoti Khemka, a resident of Kankurgachhi.
Makeshift shops selling Holi products have already sprung up in Burrabazar and other areas of the city. Normally, these stands are set up a few days before the festival, but this year they are set up 10 days in advance. “People haven’t celebrated the festival for two years, following which several dates are already scheduled. People have already started buying for Dol and Holi,” said stall owner Vikas Shaw. in Burrabazar.

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