Vrindavan of North India is famous as a religious place it is the home of Lord Krishna. Whenever you hear about Radha and Krishna the first place that comes in mind is the Vrindavan. It has been a shelter for the widows who are deprived of the family and the worldly substances. After the death of the head of the family, it becomes hard for them to survive due to several waves of abuse and poverty finally finds their shelter in the shade of Lord Krishna.
Vrindavan has been a traditional place for the widows where they are free to take shelter and live till the time they want. In the Hindu community when the entire world puts the widows away isolated from celebrating on any festivals and occasions, it is this place in north India that provides them the liberty to smile and celebrate. Two of the major celebrations, when they had left away, are playing with colors on Holi and the lights of Diwali.
Both Holi and Diwali have celebrated the widows in Vrindavan:
While Holi is played differently and we call it “Lathmar Holi”. All girls and boys play lathmar holi, according to the customs the boys throw colors at the girls while on return the girls chase them with a long thick stick.
One of the world-famous Holi that is played by all while parallel the Holi of the widows are also enjoyed that none other part of the country plays as in Vrindavan ashram.
Widows are seen to free themselves from the worldly complications and difficulties when they are seen playing with colors in the Gopinath temple.
Another is the festival of lights celebrated in Diwali, it is the time when they find themselves lonely and away from their families. Widows lit earthen lamps on the bank of the Yamuna river when you stand on the bank of the river. You will find hundreds of widows with the lightened “Diyas”. It is a way that they celebrate their life in new terms related to widowhood. Almost for seven years the widowhood is celebrated in the KC Ghat, in North India. Widows on the Ghats and inside the temple sing bhajans that echoes around, it has a new appearance that anyone would have seen earlier.
Raising awareness by the Sulabh movement to improve the situation of the widows has helped them to survive with rays of hope.
Apart from the festival participation, they are provided vocational pieces of training to make their life better, so that they can earn some penny for their bread and butter. The NGOs has given them the helping hand to improve their life and pull them away from violence, abuses, and poverty. Vrindavan has been the shelter for thousands of widows, it can be mid-aged or old aged. For all aged widows, the Sulabh movement has been providing the opportunity to live a happy and independent life.
Generally, widows are not allowed to participate in community festivals though created by the society, it is the Sulabh movement that has given them the position to be in the rituals and festivals in North India, Vrindavan and Mathura.