If you are a foreigner and visit Nepal in the months of March-April, then you will experience one of the most celebrated festivals in Nepal, and that is Holi, the festival of colors. After Dashain and Tihar, Holi is the most popular and celebrated festival in Nepal.
It isn’t only one of the most celebrated festivals in Nepal, but it is also the widely celebrated festival that is celebrated all across the country. Though Holi is a Hindu festival, it has been seen that even non-Hindus do celebrate this festival of colors in Nepal full of joy and enthusiasm. It is celebrated by Buddhists in hills and Muslims in the Terai of Nepal.
Mythology Behind Celebration Of Holi In Nepal
There are many myths and stories behind the reasons for celebrating Holi. Even though Holi is a Hindu festival, there are some references to Holi in other religions like Jain, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Ancient Mughals.
Here we will be talking about the two most popular mythologies that have direct references to the celebration of Holi in Nepal and other countries as well. Let’s talk about these two myths and stories behind the celebration of Holi.
1. Death of Holika
This is the most popular myth behind the celebration of Holi. According to Bhagavata Purana, Holi began to celebrate after the death of Holika, the sister of a Demon King Hiranyakasyapu.
According to this mythology, King Hiranyakasyapu was an evil King who considered himself only as a Lord in the Universe. He used to kill all those people who worshiped other gods. But his own son Prahalad became a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashyapu tried to convince his son with various efforts but he failed. Prahlad never stopped worshipping Lord Vishnu.
When his son Prahlad refused to worship Lord Vishnu, Hiranyakasyapu then planned to kill his five-year-old son. He ordered his sister Holika to kill Prahlad. Holika somehow tricked Prahlad to sit on a pyre with her. Holika was blessed with a fireproof cloak. So, she went to flame with carrying Prahlad. But as the fire roared due to the devotion of Prahlad, Lord Vishnu burnt Holika and safely rescued Prahlad. Since then to symbolize this victory of good over evil, Holi began to be celebrated.
This is why Holika Dahan is performed a night before Holi. Holika Dahan literally means the end of Holika. People celebrated the end of Holika with colors.
2. Lord Krishna and Radha
Another myth or story behind the celebration of Holi is related to Lord Krishna and Radha. Their divine love for each other is the reason that Holi is considered a festival of love.
Lord Krishna was repeatedly complaining to his mother Yasodha that all of his girlfriends were teasing him saying Kale(Black One) because of his dark skin. And ask her, “Why was he dark when all of his girl-friends including Radha were fair?” He also desperately used to ask her mother Yasodha whether Radha would like him or not because of his dark skin.
Yashodha gave Krishna different colors and asked him to throw them on Gopinis’ faces so they would look dark too. Krishna took colors and threw them on Gopinis. Gopinies were in love with Krishna so they loved the color game and enjoyed it. From that time Holi has been celebrated.
Importance Of Celebrating Holi
Holi is the symbol that signifies the win of good over evil. Besides this, Holi also symbolizes the arrival of beautiful spring by putting the end of cold winter, the blossoming of love, and it symbolizes a day to meet with others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. A Festival like Holi is an important way for establishing peace and harmony in society.
Moreover, it is believed that the celebration of Holi protects people from different diseases that occur when the season changes from winter to spring. That’s why in the past, Holi was celebrated with the colors made from the flowers and herbs like Mehendi, KumKum, Neem, Tumeric, etc that used to work as Ayurvedic medicines. These medicines are used to cure high fever and different skin diseases.
Celebration Of Holi In Nepal
There are many festivals that are celebrated all over Nepal, and Holi is one of such major festivals in Nepal. It is an important festival for Hindus all over the world. But in Nepal, it is also called Fagu Purnima because Nepalese celebrate this festival in the month of Falgun of the Hindu Lunisolar Calendar on the day of a full moon.
Sometimes it falls in the month of Chaitra. Holi falls in the month of mostly February to March according to the Julian And Georgian Calendar.
Though Holi is celebrated all over Nepal, it isn’t celebrated on the same date in the country. It is celebrated on different dates. People celebrate Holi on the day of Chaturdashi, a day before the full moon(Purnima) in the Hilly region of the country including Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal.
But people in the Terai region celebrate Holi on a full moon day the same as in India. There are public holidays on both of these days in the country. Literally, we can say Nepal celebrates Holi for two days.
Though Holi is celebrated on two different dates in Nepal, the way of celebrating this festival is almost the same in Hilly and Terai. Since there is a bit of cultural difference in these two parts of the country, a bit of difference can be seen in the celebration of Holi in Hilly and Terai.
Holi is celebrated by all age groups in Nepal. Though the youth seems to enjoy this festival of colors more than other age groups. People walk through their neighborhoods by exchanging colors. They put colors on the faces of each other.
Let’s have a quick look at how Holi is celebrated in both regions of Nepal.
1. Holi Celebration In Terai Region
All age-group of both males and females celebrate Holi. People perform Holika Dahan to represent Holika being consumed by the fire when she tried to kill her nephew Prahlad. To represent this scenario, people collect pieces of wood for bonfires.
On Holi Day, younger members of a family start their Holi by putting colors on the foot of their elders like parents and grandparents to seek blessings from them. And then they go outside to play with colors and water with others. Meals like non-veg and different types of sweets like Ladoos, Mewa, Sel, etc are made. People also drink different hard and soft drinks during Holi including Bhang.
Along with these, there are several programs and events are organized to celebrate Holi. In Terai or simply known as Mithalanchal there has been a tradition to celebrate Holi. People of different ages from kids to olds gather with different musical instruments like Dhol and Harmonium and celebrate Holi by singing the traditional song Jogira. But with people shifting to modern songs, Jogira is seen very less in Terai, but still, in many villages of the Terai, Holi is incomplete without this traditional song Jogira.
Apart from this, you can also see programs like Matki Fod in different places during Holi.
2. Holi Celebration In Hilly Region
In the Hilly region, almost Holi is celebrated in the same way as in the Terai. But the Holi celebration in a city like Kathmandu is a bit different. Holika Dahan is also performed here, but with a slightly different tradition. A long bamboo stick called lingo is raised in Basantapur Durbar Square in Kathmandu and wrapped in clothes with various colors. A day before Holi that long bamboo is taken down and the cloths with various colors wrapped with it are burnt symbolizes the start of Holi.
People visit their relatives and play with colors and water with each other. Different types of veg and non-veg meals are prepared and they also enjoy drinking soft and hard drinks. In big cities like Kathmandu and Pokhara, many tourists also seem to enjoy this festival of colors in Nepal more than other festivals. There are several events and programs organized in many places in which many national artists perform and celebrate Holi.
We hope you have now known many things related to Holi Celebration In Nepal. Though Dashain and Tihar are the most important festivals in Nepal, Holi can be said as the most celebrated festival in Nepal which is celebrated by almost every Nepalese with full of joy, happiness, and enthusiasm. And you will experience this thing on your own if you ever experience playing Holi in Nepal on your visit if you are a foreigner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions related to Holi in Nepal that most people asked for. Though we have almost answered all the questions that people have about a celebration of Holi in Nepal, we have shortlisted the questions and have given answers to these.
1. Why Do People Celebrate Holi In Nepal?
In Nepal, there is the majority of Hindu people living. And as you know Holi is an important festival for Hindus, it is celebrated in Nepal.
2. In Which Nepali Months Holi Mostly Fall?
Holi usually falls in the months of Falgun and Chaitra according to Nepali Vikram Sambat Calendar. But mostly it falls in the month of Falgun, which is why it is also known as Faguwa and Fagu Purnima in many places. This year in 2021, Holi is on Chaitra 15 and Chaitra 16(March 28 and March 29.
3. Which City Is Famous For Holi In Nepal?
Although Holi is celebrated all over Nepal, there are few cities that are more popular for Holi in Nepal. In Terai, cities like Janakpur, Biratnagar, Birgunj, etc are famous and in the Hilly region, Kathmandu and Pokhara are famous for Holi in Nepal.
4. Is Holi Safe For Tourists In Nepal?
Yes, Holi is safe and secure for tourists in Nepal. It has been always seen that in cities like Kathmandu a large number of tourists enjoy this festival of colors. Not only in Kathmandu, but Holi is also safe for tourists in other cities of Nepal too.
5. What Is The Story Of Holi?
There are many stories behind the celebration of Holi. But the quite popular ones are Death Of Holika and Legend Of Lord Krishna And Radha.
6. When Is Holi In Nepal In 2022?
Holi will be celebrated in Nepal on March 17(Chaitra 3) in the Hilly region & on March 18(Chaitra 4) in Terai Region.
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