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This is an essay on Holi or 'Dol-Jatra,' as it is called in Eastern India, written by Sister Nivedita, the celebrated disciple of Swami Vivekananda and Sarada Devi, consort of Sri Ramakrishna in her book Studies from an Eastern Home (1913).

Nivedita (Margaret E. Noble) was an Irish woman who became a Hindu and spent her life selflessly helping the poor women of India. This book gives a ground-level view of 19th century Hinduism from a woman's perspective. Nivedita's writings revolve around spiritual liberation tempered with sincere love for all Hindus.

Here, Sister Nivedita aptly points out two essential characteristic of the festival of colors: "One is the free mixing of men and women, with probably a certain element of rough buffoonery, something like the old St. Valentine's Day of Europe; and the other, the drawing together of all the classes, ignoring social differences of higher civilizations of later ages."

She also draws reference to the fact that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born on this day: "There was a wonderful dramatic fitness in the fact that in the fullness of time it was on the full-moon of Phalgun, the day of the Holi festival, that Chaitanya, apostle of rapture, lover of the poor and lowly, the national saint and the preacher of democracy, was born here in Bengal." Read Full Article

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