Festival

Holi Festival: The Festival of Colors

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Holi Festival: The Festival of Colors

Holi, also known to the world as the “Festival of Colors” or “Festival of Love,” is one of Nepal’s most auspicious Hindu festivals. It manifests the victory of good over evil and celebrates the divine love of Radha and Krishna.

The two-day Hindu festival originated and is primarily celebrated in the Indian subcontinent. It is held during the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Falgun (March). Hence, the celebration of the Holi Festival in Nepal marks the end of the winter and the arrival of spring.

The auspicious occasion of colors is widely celebrated by the majority of all ethnicities in the nation. During this festival, the locals express their blessings and good wishes by throwing dry powder and colored water at each other. Holi has spread to different parts of North America and Europe in the last few years to celebrate love, colors, and recreation.

History and Rituals of the Holi Festival

Festival Holi

Holi, also known as “Phagu Purnima,” has become one of the most loved festivals in the Nepalese community. Like many Hindu festivals, Holi has more than one cultural significance.

In India, the tradition centers around the demonic siblings Holika and Hiranyakashipu. It came into practice as a festivity when a devil king Hiranyakashipu plotted to kill his own son Prahlad with the help of his sister Holika. Holika was a recipient of a holy boon, which enabled her to resist the fire. She entered the burning fire with Prahlad in her lap. Prahlad, a true devotee of Lord Vishnu was saved from the accident while Holika was burnt to ashes.

Hence, many people believe the festival was named after Holika. In short, it is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

In India’s Braj region, this festival is celebrated to commemorate the divine love of Radha and Krishna. According to the symbolic legend, Krishna had a dark blue skin color as a demon had poisoned him when he was a child. So in his youth, Krishna always worried whether the fair-skinned Radha wouldn’t like him due to his appearance.

Tired of his desperation, Krishna’s mother, Yashoda, asked him to approach Radha and tell her to color his face with some brightly-colored powder. After this, Radha and Krishna became a symbol of divine love. Hence, in this part of India, Holi is celebrated in commemoration of the coloring of Radha and Krishna’s faces.

Whereas in the Nepali context, the colorful festival is a way of expressing gratitude to the Hindu legends and welcoming spring.

How Do You Celebrate Holi in Nepal?

Celebration

Holi in Nepal is basically a celebration of colors. Hindus around the country mark the festivity by playing with bright-colored powders and lighting bonfires.

Holi is usually celebrated with loved ones, family members, friends, and community members. People wish each other the greetings of Holi by splashing colorful water balloons and colored powders on and over each other.

Basantapur Durbar Square has been the hub for the celebration of Holi in Kathmandu. If you are here around the time, you can choose to participate in the festival.

The celebrations usually start a week before the main day. Holi celebrations in Nepal can be colorful and loud. The crowd is energetic, and the entire scene looks nothing short of a paintball game. One can witness the crowd running around with colorful faces and water balloons.

On this day, people usually dress in plain white clothes to let the vibrant colors sit perfectly on the clothes. As the festival also stands for accepting differences and friendship, many individuals see this as an opportunity to resolve the old arguments, cold relations, and any kind of barriers.

Concerns Regarding the Holi Festival

Best Part of the Holi

The Holi festival generally ensures a great time for the people celebrating it. However, it has its shortcomings. The festival is not new to unwanted and sometimes unpleasant incidents. Since the streets are usually crowded during the festival, there are high chances of losing your valuable possessions amongst pickpockets. You should always stay with your loved ones and trusted people at an event like this.

While some individuals will greet you in advance and ask for your consent to participate, there will also be people who will not bother asking. Most people will directly put/throw colors on you, which can be a bothersome experience for some travelers. If you do not favor such incidents, please let the locals know that you are not okay with that kind of treatment.

As much as this is a festival of friendship, love, family, and celebrations, this is not free of other safety concerns. A lot of synthetic colors in the market today are not chemical-free. Besides causing damage to the skin, it can cause various health complications. This is also why many millennials chose not to be a part of the festivals.

Additionally, many young individuals are also looking at the festival through an eco-friendly approach. A lot of people today do not actually want to impose more threats on the environment with the ever-growing climate change issues. The bonfires have also contributed to deforestation issues. Likewise, the extensive use of colors also stagnates the water bodies and ecosystem.

However, if you are willing to see what Holi is all about, be prepared to be soaked in colorful water as you immerse yourself fully in this festival.

Holi Festival 2022 Dates

In 2022, the auspicious Holi festival will fall on the 17th and 18th of March. If you are eager to be a part of the color euphoria, do match your travel dates, and kindly keep in touch with Nepal Hiking Team. Holi is not only a one-of-a-kind experience but truly a celebration of love and selflessness. It takes you a step closer to building memories lasting an entire lifetime.

Tips to Make Your Holi Fun and Safe

  • First of all, find people to celebrate the festival with. Although you’re likely to find tons of people celebrating Holi in the streets, avoid playing with strangers. Instead, celebrate it with your friends or contact your travel company to find a decent event for you.
  • While the celebrations tend to go wild and fun around Basantapur and Patan Durbar Square, we recommend avoiding such crowded places. These days some hotels around Thamel have started organizing Holi Events. Such events can be a better way to enjoy the festival safely in a trusted environment.
  • If you’re heading for a crowded area, make sure to stick with your friends. It is quite common to lose track in such places.
  • People are likely to throw colorful powders and water at you when walking around the streets. If you decide to go to a Holi event, it will likely rain colors! So, we recommend you wear old cheap clothes. If you’re not willing to ruin your clothes, you can buy a white Holi T-shirt around Thamel for cheap.
  • Since people are likely to throw colorful powders at you, we recommend keeping your eyes and mouth protected. So, wear a large eyeglass and a mask to stay safe.
  • We recommend leaving your valuable possessions like your phone, camera, and wallet in your room. If you think you need them during the festival, make sure to keep them fully protected. Since people are likely to throw colors and water at you, make sure to keep them well wrapped up and carry them in a waterproof bag.
  • Along with your eyes and mouth, you should also protect your hair and skin. You should put some natural oil in your hair to prevent the powder from sticking to your hair. You can even use a hat, bandana, or scarf to keep your hair covered. Likewise, we recommend you apply moisturizer on your skin before heading out to celebrate the festival.