In Hindi ‘Dahi’ means curd and ‘Handi’ means pot. The tem Dahi Handi means a clay pot filled with curd or buttermilk has to be broken during the ceremony as a part of ritual. The pot may also be filled with milk, butter, butter milk, fruit juices or some other sweet recipes. The pot is positioned at a convenient height usually of more than 20 feet prior to the event.
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Dahi Handi (दही हांडी) is one of the famous Hindu festivals celebrated specifically in the state of Maharashtra and Goa. The festival is usually observed in the month of August and September. However, Dahi Handi (दही हांडी) in 2016 will be celebrated . It is in the state of Maharashtra and Goa that the festival is known as Dahi Handi (दही हांडी) or Govinda. On this day a Handi (clay pot), filled with butter milk or curd, is positioned at a convenient height prior to the event above the ground and a group of men make a human pyramid to break the Handi with the help of a blunt object or coconut. The spilled butter milk or curd over the group symbolizes their achievement and unity.
This group of young and enthusiast men call themselves Govinda. Now days it a sort of competition where various teams participate in this process and teams that wins gets a lot of prizes.
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The biggest Dahi-Handi (दही-हांडी) celebrations are seen in Mumbai. The winning teams win lakhs of rupees. Some of the most famous handis are at Dadar, Mazgaon, Lalbaug and Babu Genu, Mandai in Pune. Cash and gifts are offered for Govinda troops to participate; for over 4000 Handis in Mumbai, 700 Govinda troops compete for the prizes.
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After receiving a lot of flak for commercialising the festival, the Dahi Handi Utsav Samanvya Samiti, has decided to not accept any cash prize from organisers for forming pyramids. The Samiti has requested all mandals affiliated to them to celebrate the festival without involving monetary gain.
The Samiti has also asked major organisers to not invite celebrity guests and instead, spend the money on govindas, who were injured during practice sessions. The mandals also would be focussing on ensuring minimal injuries tomorrow.
The President of Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti, Bala Padelkar told sunday mid-day, “We would like to form the pyramids with our own money. We have appealed to over 1,200 mandals across Mumbai and Thane, which are registered with the Samiti, not to accept any cash prize.”