Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Holi Festival 2019: The Festival to Flaunt the Colors

The beginning of spring in Nepal is not only about the flower blossoming with various colors. The spring here is made special with the festivals of colors; Holi known as “Phagu Purnima” as well in Nepali. March is now racing and February is getting laid back leaving behind the chilly winter for this year. Holi is regarded as one of the most enjoyable festivals all around the world and is celebrated in majority of South Asian Nations. Holi is also celebrated to mark the blessings of God for upcoming grain harvests and the land fertility. It sometimes falls on the first week of February and mostly falls on the beginning or mid of the March at the end of lunar month on full moon day.

Holi festival actually came into practice as the celebration of the good’s victory over evil. Back then in ancient days, there was a devil king, Hiranyakashyap who forced everybody in his kingdom to worship him, but his son Prahlad who was a true devotee of Lord Vishnu did not pray for his father despite of the threatens to stop praying Lord Vishnu; he continued praying for Vishnu. Furiously, Hiranyakashyap thought of killing his son and weaved a plot with his sister Holika to enter the burning fire with Prahlad in her lap; who was blessed with resistance to fire. But surprisingly, Prahlad’s passionate commitment to lord Vishnu saved him while Holika was burnt to ashes regardless of her holy boon. She was not alert that she would not be burnt only if she sat on fire alone.

The Holi formally starts in Nepal after the “Chir” erected in Basantapur Durbar Area is pulled down and burnt. The sacred pole, “Chir” tied with pieces of various colorful cloths one week prior to the Holi notifies the people to prepare for the celebration. All over Nepal, it is celebrated by splashing various colors over each other, throwing water, and gathering in masses, having feasts and wishing each other a “Happy Holi” and dancing to the songs. Those who don’t go to such huge masses celebrate it within their family, community or their close circle inside their home, mostly in the rooftop. You can also ask your hotel if they have any Holi plans for their guests. Most hotels do. This year in Nepal, Holi will be celebrated on 20th March in Kathmandu and other hilly areas, whereas in Terai region, it will be celebrated on 21st march 2019.

In Kathmandu, the main Holi crossroad is at Basantapur Durbar Square and Newroad which are both nearby places to Thamel. If you are stayed here on this day, you should miss to be a part of this celebration only if you hate playing with colors and water and only if you cannot handle the unexpected surprises like a bucket full of water spilled from above the terrace, getting hit by the small water bags and the color powder staining your cloth. But we do not think it is at all a good idea to miss this lifetime experience. You might have to later regret when you listen to other foreigners’ experience of Holi. You will find the locals merrily screaming at you a “Happy Holi” from their place even to the strangers with the maximum volume possible. The energetic crowd all covered in colors, dancing all over, applying powders even to the persons whom they have never met before, people running away when they discover someone trying to spill water on them will almost seem like a sight of a war zone. You will be amazed to see how contrarily this festival that came from a religious foundation can be this crazy and fun to such extent. As for clothing, it is better if you put on a white cloth because the colors look more vibrant than in fabrics with other shade attires. You can find cheap T-shirts easily around Thamel or Newroad market produced especially for this celebration. If you have no chance to by one, put on an old cloth otherwise the new one might be unusable next time due to the color stains.  

With the word ‘color’ complimented in the phrase, it is also called the festival of love and friendship where the barriers between the high and the lows are broken. People just enjoy not minding of the facts, with which person they have had cold relation at some point in life. Like the spring brings new life to the nature, this as well an opportunity to make new beginnings in life; may it be making new friends, may it be overcoming the awkwardness of dancing in the public or patching up with a long lost friend due to distance, busy life or interpersonal issues. So stop by to spare a day in Kathmandu, fool around with colorful Nepalese and make your visit to Nepal a worthy one!

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