Holi is an ancient festival popular among the Hindus. It is the festival of colors which associate with happiness and joy. Holi brings out the nostalgia of togetherness and playfulness as well as signifies the arrival of spring and the end of winter.
In Nepal, Holi takes place on the full moon day in the month of Falgun (Feb-Mar in solar calendar). It lasts for 2 days, March 9 and 10 of 2020 to be specific. The festival is a celebration of the victory of good over evil and the approaching spring season. People gather at different locations and play with colors. Since it is a great opportunity to meet up with new people and go out for concerts, Nepalese celebrate the festival with the utmost pleasure and music. You will see people throwing colors (powdered) and water at each other.
Cultural Significance of Holi
The Holi festival has a cultural significance among Hindu traditions including Nepal. It is the festive day when one can rid themselves of past errors, end conflicts, meeting new people, and a day to forget and forgive. For many Nepalese, Holi means an occasion of joy and togetherness.
The prominent purpose of the festival is the beginning of Spring. The 17th-century literature identifies Holi as a festival that celebrated agriculture, commemorated good spring harvests, and the fertile land. Hindus believe that the festival is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colors and farewell to winter. To many people, Holi marks the beginning of the New Year and renew ruptured relationships and conflicts.
Traditions and Rituals of Holi
Different from India, Holi is celebrated in Nepal with a special ceremony namely Chir Haran or Holika Dahan. The ceremony includes erecting a wooden pole and Nepali women in beautiful Sari circles around the pole with auspicious things in hand to pray for the blessings. This marks the official beginning of the festival of Holi.
Holi celebration is classified into two parts. The first one being Holika Dhanan and the second as Rangwali Holi. During these events, The Durbar Square and its surroundings are filled with vivid colors and colorful waters. The festival ends with a Holi bonfire in a serene atmosphere. Regardless of the ritual difference in Hindus, the intentions remain the same, to gather and have fun.
Things to do during Holi in Nepal
Holi is a national festival day, so during the day, most businesses remain closed (including restaurants). Streets are usually quite besides the places where people have gathered. Therefore, someone with little to no idea what to do in Holi will be pretty confused. But it should not be the case. If you know things to do during Holi in Nepal, we bet the festival makes it to the list of one of the best festivals that you have ever celebrated.
Here is a list of things to do during Holi in Nepal:
- Participate in local festival celebrations with a gentle touch of colour and water.
- You might get chased by kids with water balloons so you might want to buy a ‘Pichkari’ (water gun) for defense.
- Buy some powdered color called ‘Gulal’ and greet people who are willing to play with colors. Be careful since not everyone likes to color.
- Attend a music festival in Kathmandu. There will be a number of concerts going on during Holi in Kathmandu.
Related: 9 Best Adventure Sports in Nepal
Nepali Cuisine during Holi in Nepal
Enhance the celebration further with sweets and drinks. Trying out some delicious Nepali Cuisine could be a great way to enjoy the festival even more. There is endless food to try in Nepal. While it might be harder to find a decent restaurant during Holi, a little networking and searching can be fruitful, literally.
Mo: Mo is a perfect example of foods to try in Nepal. The steamed meat-filled dumpling(s) is one of the most famous foods in Nepal. Apart from fast foods, there are traditional foods which are loved by many. Holi can be an incredible opportunity to try out foods in Nepal.
Tips for Holi in Nepal
If you plan on celebrating Holi, then we wholeheartedly welcome you to taste one of the fascinating life experiences in Nepal. However, there are a few things to keep in mind while celebrating Holi in Nepal:
- Dress all-white. Holi is a festival of color and you do not want to ruin your favorite dress with powder colors and waters.
- Only carry necessary belongings. You would want to walk around all day, so do not carry heavy bagpacks/jewelry.
- Cover your phones/ cameras with plastic bags to protect from water while playing Holi.
- Visit Durbar Square in Kathmandu. The square is highly engaging, fun, and a great location for pictures.
- Do not use a plastic bag. Many youngsters use plastic bags as water balloons, which is neither good for the environment nor the health.
- Carry sunglasses. There will be colors everywhere during Holi, so you will need a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from powdered colors.
Related: Why visit Nepal during Shivaratri?
Frequently Asked Questions:
This year, Holi is dated on 9th and 10th March of 2020. It usually falls somewhere from the middle of February to the middle of March.
A white shirt, some colors, a pair of sunglasses, and a willingness to celebrate the festival as a family.
Holi lasts for a day in Hilly regions, while it lasts for 2 days in Terai region.
Here are some places to visit during Holi in Nepal:
1. Thamel Streets,
2. The Durbar Square in Kathmandu,
3. Lakeside of Pokhara,
4. Bhaktapur Durbar Square.
Yes, it is safe to celebrate Holi in Nepal. However, you need to be precautious that not everyone is interested in playing in colors.
How do you book for the Holi celebration?
You do not need to book for the Holi celebration as it is a festival for all. However, if you plan on trekking and touring around the country after or before Holi, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +977 9851179975 or WhatsApp us on +977 9851179975 and we will prepare an itinerary for you.