SCFI FestivalsSociety for the Confluence of Festivals in India

Holi in Nepal

Holi is celebrated with great pomp and show in Nepal. Celebrations lasts for a week in which the entire country gets drenched in the coloured water.

Celebrations are of marked importance at Terai and also where Indian community mainly Marwaris have settled. Families and friends get together and celebrate the occasion with a lot of merry making.

All over the streets people can be watched having fun, throwing colours and water-balloons, locally called 'lolas' on each other.

Though play of colours takes place on the last day, a ceremonial pole called, 'chir' is installed on the first day. Chir is a bamboo pole fringed with strips of clothes representing good luck charms. As the pole is put up in the street at Basantapur, the festivities and worship commences for the week. At the end of the festivities chir is taken to a bonfire.

There is a popular legend behind the installation of chir. The story is again about the mischievous nature of Krishna who just loved to pray pranks with the milkmaids or gopis. Playful as he was, it is said that once he seduced all the local girls with his dashing good looks. He then danced with them all and when they fully engrossed in him, then he thought they were ripe for a tease. He doused them in coloured water and stole all their clothes while they were bathing in the water of river Yamuna. Naughty Krishna then hung their clothes on a tree to bug them. Chir symbolizes that very tree.

The other legends popular in India as that of Prahlad and his devilish father, Hiranyakashyap. Hiranyakashyap asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. However, Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion by Lord Vishnu while Holika paid a price for her sinister desires. Every year just as in India people in Nepal light a bonfire- called Holika to mark the victory of good over evil.

Also known is the legend of Pootana who tried to kill infant Krishna by feeding her poisonous milk on the direction of devil hearted uncle of Krishna called Kansa.

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