Filled with beautiful colors, Holi is one of the important festivals in Hindu religion. The festival is celebrated with the utmost joy throughout Nepal. This ancient festival of the Hindus is also known as “Festival of Colors”. The significant reason behind celebrating Holi is to commemorate the triumph of good over evil. The colors used represent love and respect towards loved ones. Moreover, the sparkling colors are the symbol of positivity in one’s life and families.
There are two popular stories as to why people in Nepal celebrate Holi. The first is the story of a King, his son and sister. King Hiranyakashipu, had high regards of himself. He believed that he was the only god, and that everyone must worship him. However, his only son Prahalad was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Knowing this, the King could not bear the disrespect towards him and planned to kill his son, with the help of his sister, Holika. Holika was a demoness, who was immune to fire. One day, the King made his son and Holika sit in the fire. To utter surprise, Pralahad came off unscathed and was not hurt by the fire (due to this determined devotion), but his sister, Holika burned to death. Furthermore, Hiranyakashipu was killed by the Narasimha (an avatar of Vishnu in the form of a lion and man). Every year, a bon fire is lit to commemorate the defeat of good over evil.
The second reason is that Holi is celebrated as colors denote the imitation of play performed by Lord Krishna and his gopis. It represents the love and affection between Lord Krishna and his beloved lover, Radha.
According to the Nepali Calendar, Holi takes place on the full moon day in the month of Falgun. The Nepali festival Holi is categorized according to the regions of Hilly and Terai. The people living in the hilly region celebrate Holi a day before the people living in Terai.
The best place to enjoy Holi is in Kathmandu. The festival starts from Basantapur where a long bamboo stick covered with several colorful pieces of cloths known as Chir is erected along the Durbar Square of Kathmandu. It is erected a few days before Holi. On the eve of Holi, the Chir is burnt to portray burning of Holika.
The next day celebration moves from the streets of Basantapur to Thamel, with colors, water, sweets and music. Thousands of people join the festival, so be ready to experience the crowds. During this festival, people splash and rub dry colors on each other’s faces to express their love, care, blessings and good wishes. Music and dance will cheer up the area followed with beautiful colors, face paintings, water guns and balloons. You can watch the whole environment passing by with joy.
The popular tourist hub Pokhara does not leave behind delighting people in Holi. Pokhara's Lakeside area is the place to be to celebrate this festival. Chanting of music and splashing colors among closed ones can be seen. Tourists from around the world also enjoy it with much fun.
In Terai, Holi is celebrated a bit differently. People gather in groups and visit the houses of relatives and friends. They put colors on each other to convey their love and respect. People roam around the whole day having music, dance, and sweets and playing with colors.
• Kathmandu Durbar Square and Thamel in Kathmandu are the best places to enjoy this festival in Kathmandu.
• If you are in Pokhara, don’t miss the opportunity to experience at Lakeside area.
• Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from colors and water.
• Use proper clothes to have minimal skin exposed.
• Do not wear watches and jewelry or anything valuable.
• The chemicals in the color could cause skin allergies. So, it's better to clean your skin as soon as you have finished playing Holi.
Holi, the festival of colors and love is one of the amazing celebrations to experience. It is believed that it brings positivity and good luck in one’s life. Whatever the belief is, the festival of color unites people together with their loved ones and makes life colorful.
Thus, wherever you are in Nepal don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate Holi. Festivals are the mediums to reflect love and respect, keep in mind to play safely.