By Virender Pathak
Allahabad, March 22 : Though Holi is popularly celebrated with colours and water, the festival is welcomed by people in Allahabad with a traditional hammer procession.
The hammer is adorned as a 'groom' and all the traditions and rituals are performed in the same manner as performed in any Hindu marriage when the bridegroom and his retinue are given utmost VVIP treatment.
This procession commenced here on Friday with the breaking of a Kumda (pumpkin) that is filled with colours which is splashed over the revellers.
Holi revellers alongwith many reputed persons of the city here took out a Baraat (similar to a bridegroom's retinue) procession and a huge hammer atop a van to signal the onset of Holi Dhamaal (revelry).
This time the revelers included the State's Education Minister, Rakesh Dhar Tripathi and Mayor of Allahabad, Jitendra Singh Nath who participated with utmost spirit in this hammer procession.
Jitendra Singh applied the Tilak (mark of vermillion) on the hammer, the ritual to ward off odd or evil designs, popularly known as "Nazar Utarna" in Hindi heartland and all over India.
The local belief is that God created this universe using a hammer as such to display its important relevance a procession is taken out in Allahabad on the occasion of the Holi.
"The procession of hammer is being taken out in Allahabad on Holi for its mythological relevance. The hammer is a tool with which this universe and the nature has been created, so it should have its significance in some way, so for that reason, the tradition of carrying out this hammer in a mass procession has been started," said Jitendra Singh Nath, the Mayor of Allahabad.
"The procession of hammer is taken out on the occasion of Holi in Allahabad for years with full gaiety and decoration. The procession has started from Keswani Vidyapeeth and this will mark the onset of Holi," said Abhay Avasthi, one of the organisers of Hammer procession.