Holi Purnima (Mar 1, 2018)
Holi in Nepal
When is Holi
This year Holi is on March 05 & 06, 2015. That is on Chaitra 21 & 22 of 2071 in Bikram Sambat Calender.
Holi is welcoming of spring and summer. It is also observed to get blessing of God for coming harvests and fertility of the land. This festival is celebrated in most of South Asian counties.
Actually Holi is the night of Falgun Krishna Chaturdasi but celebration starts from the very next day on Purnima. Holi is the festival of color, friendships and love.
How we celebrate Holi
Holi in Nepal starts one week before the main day of Holi. There is a tradition of erecting a long bamboo stick (lingo) covered with pieces of different color cloths (Chir) in Bashantapur Durbar square, Kathmandu. In the eve of Holi the lingo is taken down and the Chir is burnt. The event is called Chir Haran or Holika Dahan. Holi then starts.
Holi is celebrated with colors, water, sweets and music. People put color on each other as a token of love. People go houses of relatives and friends in group. Put colors on each other eat sweets and move whole day. People dance and play music. People in Terai celebrate Holi the next day from Kathmandu Valley and other hilly reason of Nepal.
Actually, there was a tradition of bringing Holi from places to places, so different places could have different dates for Holi celebration in order in olden days. In some part of India, this still holds true. Now, in Nepal there are only two days celebrations.
People used to make Pichkari (water guns) out of bamboo. And throw colored water on each other. Now-a-days balloons and plastic water guns (pichkari) are used. The balloon filled with water is called Lola in Nepali. Kids start throwing lolas on each other from week ahead of main Holi days.
People collects wood and burn fires and play music and performs dances. Some drink bhang and go crazy and make jokes.
The burning of the wood log in village and town avenues are very important part of Holi celebration. This event is called Holika Dahan, the end of Holika.
Holi is official holiday in Nepal. Offices are closed on Fagun Purnima days in hilly reason to celebrate Holi and the very next day, Terai is off for the celebration.
Stories behind Holi
There are varies stories behind the Holi celebration.
Lord Krishna and Radha
Lord Krishna was repeatedly complaining his mother Asodha that all his girl friends were teasing him saying Black One (Kale). And ask her, “why was he dark when his all of his girl-friends (Gopinis including Radha) were fair?”
Yashodha gave Krishna different colors and asked him to throw it on Gopinis’ faces so they would look dark too. Krishna took colors and threw it on Gopinis. Gopinies were in love with Krishna so they loved color game and enjoyed it. From that time Holi has been celebrated.
Death of Holika
It is said Holi is the day when Holika is died. It is celebration of her death.
Praladh was son of Hiranyakasyapu, a demon who started thinking he was only the Lord in this Universe. Praladh became devotee of Lord Vishnu, while Hiranyakashyapu wanted all to worship him only. Hiranyakashyapu wanted to convience his son with various tries, but failed. Praladh never stopped worshipping Lord Vishnu.
Hiranyakasyapu then planned to kill his five year old son. He ordered his sister Holika to kill Praladh. Holika was blessed with a fire proof dress. She went to flame with carrying Praladh. However, due to devotion of Praladh Lord Krishna burnt Holika and safely rescued Praladh.
Holika Dahan, means the end of Holika became Holi. People celebrated the end of Holika with colors, so the festival Holika Dahan became later Holi.
There is tradition of making Hay Holika and burn it on the Holi.
Krishna and Draupadi
It is said Holi is celebrate to remember the love to Krishna to Draupadi when he protected her when the Kaurav did her Chir Haran. Kauravs were pulling her Sari. Lord Krihna made the sari endless. Lord Krishna saved Draupadi and this day is celebrated as Holi.
Dhundi and boys
Once in the kingdom of Prithu, a horrible ogress named Dhundhi started giving trouble to children. She was blessed by Lord Shiva that she would not be killed by gods, men not hurt by any weapon not affected by heat, cold, snow or rain. These boons made her almost invincible. However, due to a curse of Lord Shiva, she was not so immune to the pranks and abuses of young boys. The king Raghu was able to arrange some young boys and ask them to do something that should annoyed that ogress should leave the kingdom forever. The boys on the day of Fagun Purnima collected woods put fire on it. They started dancing and speaking crazy. They got little intoxicated on bhang and chased Dhundi to the boarder of the kingdom by beating drums, making loud noise, shouting obscenities and hurling insults at her and continued doing this until she left the place for ever. It is said the same tradition is continued and people take some bhang in this day, burn fire and dance, play drums and jokes around.