Celebrating Holi in Nepal: Stories behind festival of colors
Holi is the festival of colors that brings happiness, togetherness and joy among families and friends. The celebration lasts for a week with splendid display of colors, splashing waters and in recent years around Kathmandu city even Tomato is being used called as Tomatia. Holi is celebrated with even more delightful and colorful manner around Terai region of southern Nepal. The joyous occasion covers entire area as “bhang” alcoholic drink sweets are prepared along the program of singing, dancing and water balloons. We can see colors of happiness bursting around the entire nation.
Among few mythological stories and beliefs, it is believed that mischievous behavior of Lord Krishna who used to play pranks, sing and dance with gopis once doused them in water full of colors, stole their clothes while bathing at river banks of Yamuna River and hung those clothes in a tall bamboo tree. In the same belief, during every Falgun purnima (fullmoon day on month of falgun) the bamboo tree with colorful clothes is put up at basantapur; it is called ‘Chir’ and installation of chir announces the opening of holi which lasts till a week. The main celebration day of Holi is that last day also the national holiday.
There is also another story of Prahlad, Holika and Hiranyakashyap behind celebrating the festival of Holi. With the help of his sister Holika, Hiranyakashyap tried to kill his son Prahlad who was extreme devotee of Lord Vishnu. While Prahlad was on the lap of Holika above burning fire, the devilish desire burnt down with Holika whereas, Prahlad was saved by Lord Vishnu. Since then it is believed that in the name of victory over devil, the colorful joyous festival of Holi is celebrated.