5 Fun facts about Holi – The Festival of Color
- Holi is a colorful Hindu festival celebrated to herald in spring and rejoice the victory of good over evil. Holi is celebrated on the full moon day of the 11th month of the Nepali calendar and is the least religious of all Hindu festivals (which translates to unlimited fun). This year it falls on March 22.
- Legend has it that Holika, the sister of demon King Hiranyakashyap, attempted to help her brother take his young son Prahlad’s life. Holika had been blessed such that she could not be harmed by fire. So, she lures Prahlad on to her lap and enters a huge bonfire. However, Prahlad who was a devotee of Naarayan breaks this spell by reciting his lord’s name and comes out of the fire unscathed, while Holika burns to death. The name Holi comes from Holika.
- In Kathmandu, one week before the main Holi celebration, a Chir (bamboo pole) covered with colorful clothes is erected in Basantapur Durbar Square. On the eve of Holi, it is taken down and burnt to symbolize the death of the evil Holika.
- The central ritual of Holi involves colours and lots of it! Revellers smear each other with colored powders as they celebrate the festival with their family and friends. In bigger cities, there are Holi parties where attendees can play with colors, indulge in water fights, dance, eat and drink until sundown.
- In Nepal, water balloon and water pistol fights begin a week early, as kids pellet each other with colored water balloons and practice their target on passerbys. It is frowned upon to scream at the kid who lands a Bull’s Eye on your back. However, it is perfectly acceptable to reciprocate with a water balloon of your own, with a ‘Happy Holi!’.
Bonus Tip: Wearing white is generally deemed ‘apt’, for the colors can better ‘pop’ on a blank canvas. However, practicality-wise stick to something you might not wear again, as the colors do not come off easy.