Just now it occured to me today is the full Moon day in the month of Phaalguna. Also known as Holi and Kaamana habba. This day is believed to be the day when Shiva burned Manmatha into ashes with his third eye. According to the Mahabharata, this day also happens to be the day on which Arjuna was born. He wasn’t called Phalguna for nothing – He was born on the full moon day of the month of Phaalguna,  when the Moon was near the star Uttara Phalguni (Denebola, or Beta Leonis).

If you think it is a close chance that the Moon was near the star Phalguni, in the month of Phalguna – rest your thoughts right there. It is [ntrntional, because the months are in fact named after the stars near which the Moon appears when it is full during that month. So, in the month of Chaitra, you can find the full Moon near the star Chittta (or Chitra, Alpha Virgo) and in the month of Vaishakha you would find the full Moon near the star Vishakha (Alpha Libra) and so on for the other 10 months of the year.

Before the invasion of numerous Hindi TV channels and movies to the south of India, Holi in our town was never called Holi. It was called Kaamana Hunnime (The full moon of Kaama) or simply Kaamana Habba (The festival of Kaama). There were no colors that were thrown at people walking in the streets. It was marked by a bonfire in the full Moon night, where old stuff  from homes around the block was thrown into the fire. May be this was a way of spring cleaning, I really don’t know! But the bonfire under the full Moon night was surely a fun event.

Kaamana habba was dear to me for another reason. Kaamana habba signalled that the end of the school year was nearby. The Yugadi festival would follow in couple of weeks, and closely behind would be the rathotsava at my native village.  The rathotsava at the village meant that we’d have uninterrupted fun!

Where have those days gone? They seem to have totally disappeared, at least from my life.

-neelanjana