Holi in Nepal- Nepal’s most colourful festival

What is the Holi Festival?

Another festival we definitely wanted to take part in during our trip to Nepal was the Holi Festival. No longer unknown in Germany due to various party series, the Holi Festival has its origins in Hinduism and is considered one of the oldest festivals in northern India and Nepal. The special thing about the festival are the bright colours with which people lovingly throw or paint each other. There is also singing and dancing. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Background of the Holi Festival

The Holi festival takes place every year on the first full moon day of Phalgun (February/March) and lasts from two to ten days, depending on the region. According to the Hindu lunar calendar, Phalgun is the last month of the year. On the first day of Holi, a figure made of straw is burnt at night, symbolising the demoness Holika, after whom the festival is named. People gather around the fire, perform various rituals and pray that the inner evil will be destroyed – just like Holika the sister of the demon god Hiranyakashipu, who burned in the fire. The second day of the festival is what we mainly associate with Holi: Boisterous celebrations, throwing coloured powder through the air and everyone loving each other. Especially the latter is not a matter of course in countries where there are strict demarcations between the different castes. On this day, caste, age, gender and social status seem to play no role. The festival is also used to reconcile with people and to cultivate relationships. There is drumming, dancing, bhang and drinking (although frowned upon in many places). In Pokhara, alcohol was on sale at every corner and loud music was blaring from the loudspeakers.

Frische Farbe nachgelegt beim Holi Festival in Pokhara

How we experienced the festival

Unfortunately, we were in Pokhara, which is one of the most touristy places in Nepal. Our hostel invited us to spend the Holi Festival together. So off we went in the morning, in a cluster of westerners on our way to a square. We felt like a herd being herded through the city. At first, it was really just us white people and a few hawkers who wanted to sell us bags of paint. We gathered at the square and music was played (for us??). Then we continued towards the centre, where the crowd finally mixed with the locals. Here we had what we had hoped for, boisterous communal partying. There were some acts and loud music to which we all danced. At the beginning of the party, the colours looked very colourful on you, but that changed the more colour you got. At a later hour, the colourfulness turned into a dirty grey.

Clothing for the Holi Festival

It’s best to buy any white clothes locally or ask at your hostel if they still have anything. For the mobile phone, I recommend waterproof packaging and preferably not your favourite shoes. The paint powder will really be all over your body. I still had blue paint in my ear 3 weeks after the festival.

Where does the Holi Festival take place?

As mentioned, the Holi Festival takes place annually and is now celebrated in the north of India and in Nepal. Some famous places for the Holi Festival in Nepal are Basantapur, Jhamsikhel, Thamel and Lainchaur. We celebrated the festival in Pokhara, as mentioned above. Another festival you should not miss is Maha Shivaratri – the Night of Shiva.

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We are Julian & Naomi and we love to travel the world and immerse ourselves in other cultures. We have an adventurous, spartan, sustainable and reflective travel style. In our opinion, the greatest adventures are experienced when you do things on your own and try to live like a local. The taste of a country is best captured on the road
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