Lathmar Holi is associated with the story of the divine couple Radha and Krishna. According to the legends, Lord Krishna was residing in Nandgaon. As a child and young adult, he was full of fun and mischief, and wanted to colour Radha and her friends on Holi. So, he and his friends went to Barsana, where Radha lived, only to be greeted by Radha and her friends. They playfully chased away Lord Krishna and his friends from Barsana with sticks and lathis and this tradition is continued even today to honor their memories.
The Celebrations Today
Every year, on the festival of Holi, the men of Nandgaon enter Barsana and are greeted by women with sticks(lathis), who then proceed to playfully beat them and drive them out, while the men must shield themselves, the best they can.
The men are dressed in traditional attire while the women are dressed in colorful saris. The men sing songs in the local dialect and the women respond in songs which describe the teasing of Radha by Lord Krishna.
After the first day, which is known as Laddoo Maar Holi, the men enter Barsana on the second day and try to pour colored water and put colors on the women, who then try to defend themselves with sticks. This is known as Phoolon ki Holi.