Holi ; The Festival of Colors
Red, yellow, blue, orange and assemblage of further contrasting colors is the term for the Nepalese festival of Holi. This grand festival of revelry falls on the full moon day at the end of Falgun month, from mid February to mid May. The celebration of Holi refers to the initiation of good harvest and the beginning of spring month. Today in modern culture, Holi is celebrated with use of wide colors and waters throughout Nepal and people play with their loved ones.
Though the origin of Holi is a dates back to the ages of gods, when the Demoness Holika was burned by her own pyre while trying to kill her nephew Prahlad. So, the celebration has been adopted since the mythic times. This event also symbolizes the good over evil in the books of Hindus.
Nepal being a multi diverse religious nation, celebrates holi all over the nation regardless of the different religion prevailed in the society. In cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara, the use of Pichkaries, Abir(dry color powders) and water is popular whereas in Terai region, the use of dry color powder has its own way of having fun. In Kathmandu, the holi starts a week earlier by erecting the lingo and binding it with several colored cloths in the UNESCO Heritage of Basantapur. This Chir is then taken to Tundikhel on the auspicious day of Holi and burnt. Celebrating Chir Haran (extermination of Holika), People tend to drink ghatta (hemp drink) mixed with milk for euphoric experiences. Also, people drink Bhaang in Terai region of Nepal for celebrating this festive of colors.
The day of Holi is a public holiday in Nepal and relatives meet and have fun partying on this day. The use of Pichkaaries (Water gun) and Lola (balloon filled with water) is the reason why children have the most fun on Holi. The urban myth is that the girls who are struck by a boy’s lola while walking on the street is considered to be lucky and believed to be fertile for the whole year. Hitting lola to unknown people is a common practice although several local laws have been made for prohibiting it. Another jovial thing about Holi is the day’s ending. At night people start collecting of woods and making bonfires to mark the Holika Dahan. Holika dahan means the funeral pyre of Demoness Holika. Believers on this day worship lord Vishnu and sing bhajan’s to remember the preserver of earth.
The Holi in hilly region starts a day before the Terai Holi. However, both the hilly Holi and Terai Holi day are marked as a public holidays in Nepalese calendar. No matter the caste and culture, Holi has and is still a colorful festival of Nepal celebrated by Nepalese and even the tourists too.