Dolyatra, or Dolotsav, is popularly referred as the Holi of Bengal and it is celebrated on the full moon day in the Bengali month of Phalgun. Since the festival takes place in the spring season, it is also known as Basant Utsav or Vasant Utsav.
Legend has it that Lord Krishna expressed his love to Radha on the full moon night on Dolyatra day. One of the most famous paintings of Radha and
Krishna is the one on the full moon night during spring.
Just as in Holi, Dolyatra is celebrated with colors. The festival begins by paying respect to the dead ancestors. People put small amount of colored powder (phaag) on the pictures of photos of dead ancestors. Next they take the blessing of elders by offering some color on the feet. Elders bless youngsters by putting some color on the forehead. The subdued celebration ends at home and then people venture into the streets and throws colors on everyone on the street.
All people, irrespective of age and social status participate in the festival. Songs on the immortal love of
Krishna and Radha are sung on the occasion. Other songs include those on nature’s splendor.