Happy Holi everyone!

happy-Holi-Celebration

So what happens during the Holi Festival?

In Kathmandu, a week before the holiday, which falls on the full-moon, a long bamboo pole, topped with fringes of colorful cloth, called the Chir is erected in front of the Kumari’s house in the Basantpur area of the old royal palace. The Chir pole commemorates Shri Krishna’s teasing of some of the Gopis (milk maidens) by hiding their clothes in a tree while they were bathing in the sacred Jamuna.

The chir being hoisted tall

The chir being hoisted tall

From the moment the Chir is hoisted, for the next eight or nine days, the period of playing with colors reigns.

The array of coloured powders for sale just before Holi

The array of coloured powders for sale just before Holi

People douse each other with water and throw vermilion powder on each other. This practice commemorates Sri Krishna painting his beloved Radha’s face with colors when he courted her. When Krishna fell in love with Radha, he was worried that she wouldn’t love him because he was dark complexioned (blue) whille she was so fair. His mother advised him to flirtatiously and playfully apply colors to Radha’s face, thus covering up their difference. And it worked…

Holi is really bedlam and you cannot walk safely down the street without being doused with coloured water or dry powder. Only thing to so is get with the program, wear clothes that are throwaway and join in in the fun!

Holi is really bedlam and you cannot walk safely down the street without being doused with coloured water or dry powder. Only thing to so is get with the program, wear clothes that are throwaway and join in in the fun!

The play is particularly intense, but still fun, on the 3 last days leading up to full moon day. Ethnic groups from the Terai and Indians celebrate the festival for one day longer.

Holi is celebrated with great fervor. Many people, including women and children, eat or drink bhang, a preparation of marijuana and spices which only adds to the revelry, fervor, and fun.

Late in the afternoon of the full moon day the Chir is lowered and taken to the Thundikhel field in central Kathmandu where it is ceremonially burnt, like Holika was. Playing with color is now officially over, and normal, well-behaved and decorous life resumes.

Happy Holi!

About Kate Coffey

After 25+ years in the investment management industry, I packed in my job and spent 2014 living and working in Nepal and Bangladesh, and visited some other places in between. It took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and it's people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Sanga foothills. Since 2014, I have continued my warm relationship with SIRC and worked closely with my friends there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes to date. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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2 Responses to Happy Holi everyone!

  1. Mick Canning says:

    Happy Holi to you, too!

  2. Pingback: Happy Holi! | Bowen to Bangladesh

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