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This day for the festival of colour is more prevalent in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states of India, and some parts of North India. People celebrate by throwing fragrant red powder (gulal) and splashing coloured water, etc. on others. It is a Marathi tradition and was spread outside of Maharashtra when Marathas ruled these places. In other parts of India, the festival of colors is celebrated on the full moon day named Holi, approximately 5 days before. Recently, the media portrayal, especially Bollywood depiction of the festival of colors during Holi festivities has changed the trend as many people in the cities preferring to celebrate Holi rather than Rangapanchami. Rural areas however still celebrate it on the fifth with a gusto.
The fire, which shines with its brilliance on Holi, decomposes the raja-tama particles in the atmosphere and this helps activate various Deities in the form of colours. This bliss is celebrated by throwing colours in the air. Thus, Rang Panchami is a symbol of victory over raja-tama. Rang Panchami involves invocation of Gods and is a part of worship of the manifest form of Gods. Its purpose is to activate the five elements of radiant manifest colours and to touch and feel the Deities who are attracted to the respective colours. These five elements are a source, which help activate the element of the Deities according to the spiritual emotion of the Jiva. Rang Panchami is the worship of the saviour form of the Deities.
The 2018 date is March 6.