Holi festival in Nepal
Holi festival (Fagu Purnima) is a popular ancient Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Love, the Festival of Colors, and the Festival of Spring. Holi festival is believed as one of the most respected and celebrated festivals of Nepal and it is celebrated in almost every part of the country. The vibrancy of colours is something that brings in a lot of positivity in our lives and Holi being the festival of colours is actually a day worth rejoicing. Holi is a famous Hindu festival that is celebrated in every part of Nepal with utmost joy and enthusiasm. The ritual starts by lighting up the bonfire one day before the day of Holi and this process symbolizes the triumph of good over the bad. On the day of Holi festival people play with colours with their friends and families and in the evening they show love and respect to their close ones with Abeer.
When is the Holi festival celebrated?
Holi festival is celebrated in Falgun, the 12th month of the Hindu calendar, which corresponds to February or March in the Gregorian calendar. This year, the festival will be celebrated on March 18, though the festivities tend to run longer in some places.
With a significant fall in COVID cases after two years of battling the coronavirus in India, millions of people are getting ready to celebrate after last year’s muted festivities.
What is the story behind the Holi festival?
Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil and there are various stories about its origin.
The most popular legend in Hindu mythology says the festival marks Lord Vishnu’s triumph over King Hiranyakashyapu, who killed anyone who disobeyed him or worshipped other gods.
The king had a son called Prahlad who never worshipped his father and worshipped Vishnu instead. Hiranyakashyapu was so displeased that he conspired with his sister Holika to kill his son.
Holika agreed to kill her nephew, luring Prahlad into a pyre and trying to burn him. However, Vishnu came to Prahlad’s rescue and Holika ended up burning in the pyre.
Where is the Holi festival celebrated?
Holi festival is celebrated in most parts of Nepal, with each region having its own traditions. The celebrations in northern India tend to be more colourful and vivid while those in the south focus mainly on religious and temple rituals.
However, even among the northern states, there is a difference in how long the celebrations last and what people do. Garg, for instance, has never participated in a Holika Dahan bonfire on the eve of Holi. “In Himachal, we don’t do bonfires,” he said.
Andre Visperas is a Hindu practitioner from the Philippines. He said he celebrated Holi for the first time when he went to Nepal for a pilgrimage in Nepal in 2009.
“Before that, I celebrated Holi festival on my own but I only celebrated the spiritual aspect of it rather than the celebratory traditions such as the throwing of coloured powder,” Visperas.
Holi festival is also celebrated in other South Asian countries like Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh which have a sizeable Hindu population. It is also celebrated by the Hindu diaspora in various countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
To this day, Hindu devotees celebrate Holika Dahan on the eve of Holi to mark the event by making bonfires in their neighbourhoods.
Tips for the Holi festival in Nepal
- White T-shirts, cheap pants and slippers are highly recommended. After the carnival, you can either throw them away or keep them as Holi souvenirs.
- It is suggested to prepare a raincoat for the camera. And the easiest way is to cover it tightly with plastic wraps.
- Facial cleanser and shampoo are the essentials to clean off the paints.
- If you just want to observe this colourful festival, the steps of the temples around Durbar Square are the best spots for photography.
- There are lots of venues where people celebrate this festival full of joy and excitement. Basantapur, Jhamsikhel, Thamel, Lainchaur, etc are the famous places where people get together and celebrate the Holi festival annually.