As the sun dawned on the eastern horizon of the Odisha skyline on Saturday, people woke up to the festival of colors. After two years of playing a subdued Holi owing to the heavy COVID-19 restrictions, people of Odisha breathed a sigh of relief this time around due to relaxation in restrictions.
Though people played holi across the State on Saturday, it was mostly remained indoors due to the restriction clamped by the Odisha Special Relief Commissioner (SRC).
However, people from across the State, from Bhadrak to Sundargarh and Bhubaneswar to Khordha, dipped in the festival of colours. Holi fervour at the historic Bagurai Dola Mandap in Bhadrak was a bit dampened due to the COVID restrictions, but that did not stop at least some people to come and enjoy the festivities by playing with colors.
A member of the Bagurai Dola Mandap committee told OTV, “This is an old tradition in Bhadrak. At least 10,000 people gather every year here to celebrate Holi symbolising communal harmony.”
Another local of Bhadrak said, “A few people gathered here as compared to non-covid years, but nonetheless the experience was awesome.”
Similarly, residents of the Capital city, Bhubnaeswar, mainly stuck to herbal colors shunning the chemicals. Occupants of a residential society near Patia in Bhubaneswar took it one step further by preparing colors with plants, leaves and pulses from their kitchens.
The State government's restrictions on public observance of the festival of colors was part of its measure to contain a possible sudden spurt in the pandemic due to mass gathering.
As per the order issued by the Special Relief Commissioner, "People may celebrate 'Holi' with family members in their houses only and not in any public places including public roads. Collectors and Municipal Commissioners may impose any further restrictions as desirable in consideration of local situations."
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik extended his wishes on the occasion. Taking to Twitter, Patnaik said, "My heartfelt greetings and congratulations to the people of the state on the occasion of the festival of colors Holi."
ରଙ୍ଗର ପର୍ବ ହୋଲି ଅବସରରେ ରାଜ୍ୟବାସୀଙ୍କୁ ମୋର ଆନ୍ତରିକ ଶୁଭେଚ୍ଛା ଓ ଅଭିନନ୍ଦନ ଜଣାଉଛି। ସମସ୍ତ କୋଭିଡ ନିୟମ ପାଳନ କରି ଉତ୍ସବରେ ସାମିଲ ହୁଅନ୍ତୁ। ସମସ୍ତେ ସୁସ୍ଥ ରୁହନ୍ତୁ ଓ ଖୁସିରେ ରୁହନ୍ତୁ। #HappyHoli pic.twitter.com/A0jfgcXVI1— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) March 19, 2022
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National Vice President, Baijayant Panda also greeted people on the festival of colors. "Heartiest greetings and congratulations to my dear people of Odisha on the auspicious occasion of Holi. May this festival of joy, excitement and colour bring happiness, peace and prosperity to you and your loved ones," he tweeted.
ପବିତ୍ର ହୋଲିର ଶୁଭ ଅବସରରେ ମୋର ପ୍ରିୟ ଓଡ଼ିଶାବାସୀଙ୍କୁ ହାର୍ଦ୍ଦିକ ଶୁଭେଚ୍ଛା ଓ ଅଭିନନ୍ଦନ। ଆନନ୍ଦ, ଉତ୍ସାହ, ଉଲ୍ଲାସ ଓ ରଙ୍ଗର ଏହି ପର୍ବ ଆପଣଙ୍କର ଏବଂ ଆପଣଙ୍କ ପ୍ରିୟଜନମାନଙ୍କ ଜୀବନରେ ସୁଖ, ଶାନ୍ତି ଏବଂ ସମୃଦ୍ଧି ଆଣିଦେଉ 🙏🙏#Holi pic.twitter.com/U6vMgHTvxU— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) March 19, 2022