Phagwa In Chowtal
Written by: Vandana Abhishek Kumar
Holi or Phagwa is a festival of colors. Holi is celebrated in the later part of the month of Phalgun and the early part of Chaitra, in the Hindu calendar which corresponds to the English month of March –April. According to Hindu Mythology the festival of Holi is celebrated with a story of Hiranyakashipu’s own son, Prahlada,who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu ordered young Prahlada to sit on a fire in the lap of Holika, Hiranyakashipu’s demon sister, who also could not die because she had a boon preventing her from being burned by fire. Prahlada accepted his father’s orders, and prayed to Lord Vishnu to keep him safe. When the fire started, Holika burnt to death, while Prahlada survived unharmed. The salvation of Prahlada and burning of Holika is celebrated as Holi.
Krishna grew up, the festival is celebrated for sixteen days (until Rangpanchmi) in divine love of Radha for Krishna. On this day people forget about enmity and look forward to the color of friendship.
This festival of colors is celebrated with singing and dancing. The Phagwa music has a fast beat and is sung in Chowtal format loudly and high pitched. It is very prominent in North India basically in Bihar and Jharkhand villages where all the people come together in temples and sing Phagwa songs which say the story of holi celebration of lord Krishna and Radha, Lord Ram and Seeta as well as lord Shiv and Parvati.
एकबर खेलेकुंअरकन्हेया एकबर राधा
मोहनखेले होलीहो |
Now chowtal is a form of song in North India sung during Phagwa /Holi .Two row of singers face each other with Dholak, Jhal and Mridang .Melodies of these songs are simple and has a fast tempo reflecting excitement. Today Chowtal is performed in various parts of Bhojpur region. Chowtal in Phagwa is in the decline now although this is the real sense of Holi celebration, where people not only sing but they adore God for everything which they created through their songs.
During the year 1845-1917 Chowtal was one of the Bhojpuri folk music genres transmitted by indentured labour migration to the Caribbean and also the Fiji Island in order to preserve the cultural heritage. In these sites it has flourished vigorously in spite of decline of the Bhojpuri language. It also flourished in secondary Diaspora communities of Indo-Caribbean in New York, Holland, the west coast of North America, and elsewhere as Holi celebrations.
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