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
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
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
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.