With spring just around the corner, different countries around the globe are getting ready to welcome spring in their own unique and cultural ways. The spring season itself is a sign of new blooming, and also indicates resurrection and regrowth. Like many other countries, Nepal is all set to celebrate the festival of colors, the festival of spring- “HOLI”. Holi is a famous Hindu festival that is celebrated not only in Nepal but also in other countries like India and many other regions of South Asia. Not only has it become widely popular in regions of Asia but is also widely popular among communities outside of Asia.
History of Holi Festival
Holi, a popular ancient Hindu festival also known as, “the festival of colors” signifies the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated mostly around the month of February or March which is likely to fall in the season of spring. This day is also celebrated as a day of spreading happiness and love. The word, “HOLI” derives its name from- “HOLIKA”. According to Hindu mythology, HOLIKA was the sister of an egoistic demon king, “HIRANYAKASHYAPU” who commanded everyone to worship no one but only him. He had a son named Prahlad who disregarded his father and prayed to Vishnu (principal deities of Hinduism) instead. Angry with him, Hiranyakashyapu tried to kill him using many ways but failed each time as Vishnu would protect Prahlad every time.
So, Holika, the sister of Hiranyakashyapu planned a wicked scheme to murder Prahlad. In order to put an end to Prahlad’s life, Holika, who possessed a magical shawl of power that protected her from flames, carried him into her lap and sat on a pyre that was blazing. But instead of Prahlad, it was Holika who died, and the Vishnu devotee child remained unharmed. Little did Holikaknow; the shawl’s power would work only when she would stay inside the burning flame alone.
On the other hand, Hiranyakashyapu was blessed with a boon that gave him five special powers- according to which he couldn’t be killed by a human or an animal, nor was it possible to kill him indoors or outdoors or with a handheld weapon and also not being possible to get killed on land, water or air was ended by Vishnu who took the avatar of Narasimha – a half-human, half-lion. From that day on, people celebrate Holi as a victory of good over evil.
How is Holi celebrated in Nepal?
In Nepal, Holi is essentially a festival of color. Around the nation, Hindus celebrate the holiday by igniting bonfires and playing with brightly colored powders.
Holi is also known as Fagu Purnima in Nepal, which means “the full moon of Fagu/Falgun” in English. The joyful Holi festival’s key messages are to welcome spring, express gratitude for the bountiful harvest and spread love. But the ritual may differ depending on where you are. India may observe Holi in accordance with its traditions, myths, or geographical places. Nepal also practices a ceremony that is somewhat similar to that of India.
Holi is typically enjoyed by loved ones, members of the family, close friends, and community members. Holi greetings are exchanged by sprinkling multicolored water balloons and colored powders on top of one another.
You can combine this festival of happiness when you are on your short Nepal Tour if in season. Kathmandu Durbar Square, also famous as Basantapur among locals is the major hub for the celebration of this festival in the valley.
Another Mythology of Holi Festival
On the other hand, according to the other mythology, an avatar of Vishnu- “Krishna” felt embarrassed by his dark blue skin and was afraid that the woman he loved, a woman named Radha would not accept him. The Hindu deity’s mother, Yashoda suggested him to color Radha’s face with any dark color (blue, violet, or purple) of his choice on her face. Thus, the moment when Krishna approached Radha and applied colors to her face. It is believed to be their start of love. Devotion, and companionship and hence marked this varicolored festivity to “HOLI”. This loving act of Lord Krishna is celebrated as, “the festival of colors”.
Some Important Tips for Holi Festival
- Wear old or cheap clothes as you will be drenched in colors.
- Prepare some raincoats or plastic bags for your gadgets such as cameras and mobile phones.
- Before going out, put some protection on your eyes, skin, and hair.
- Fit in this celebration of Holi in any kind of your Nepal Day Tours if you are traveling at the time of the festival.
- Last but not least, stay hydrated as you will be out there dancing. Jumping, and having fun in the crowd under the sun.