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Holi in Nepal: Holi is a Serious Carnival filled with Red Powder

Nepal is known as the "Land of Festivals", with a festival almost every few days, sometimes one celebration after another, which is rare worldwide. Nepal has more than 300 festivals across the country, and few countries in the world have stopped their daily work for the festival like Nepal, and Nepalis spend almost a third of their time preparing for the festival every year. Most of Nepal's festivals stem from the worship of various gods, and there are more than 50 government-mandated holidays. Any tourist can experience Nepal's religious culture and traditional customs by participating in different festivals.


Holi Festival, also known as "Holi" and "Color Festival", is a traditional Hindu festival. Originally a celebration of spring, it is associated with the act of creation and restoration, representing the spring equinox and the harvest of grains, the colorful and renewals of spring. India, Nepal, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, Mauritius, and Fiji are important festivals. There are many theories about the origin of Holi, the most authoritative one being that Holi originated from the famous Indian epic Mahabharata.


Holiday Legends

Legend has it that the king of the great Asuras, Hirankaya Sip, was cruel by nature, and he went on a rampage against the gods against the Dhamma. His prince Prarada loved and supported the people, and believed in Vishnu (one of the three main gods of Hinduism, the protector deity). After unsuccessfully persuading the prince to abandon the Dhamma, King Asura asked his sister Holika, who was not afraid of fire, to jump into the fire with the prince in her arms, ready to burn the prince to death. However, under the protection of Vishnu, Holija was burned to ashes, but Prarada was unharmed. To celebrate, the people poured colorful paint on the little prince. This is where Holi came about.


Ye Liang: Later, King Asura personally hunted down the prince, and was torn to pieces with his claws by the avatar of Vishnu at the door at dusk, which is the origin of the human-lion Nasingha. Statues of human lions are mostly found in the lintels or doorways of important buildings in South Asia.

Hindus designate the day of Hope in December of the Chao Ri (also known as the Nepalese calendar) as Holi every year.

Holi as a festival appears to presumably predate Christ by centuries – it was spoken of during the religious activities of Puyamimmsa Sutras and Kajka Goja Sutra in Jammini.


Teasing people and having fun is the spirit of Holi, and usually, lower castes sprinkle powder and paint on higher caste people, forgetting class differences for a while. At night, people threw statues of Holiga made of grass and paper into the fire and burned them. Indians also drink a milky white drink during Holli, which is said to ensure a safe and healthy coming year.

Customs Vary

Holi 2023 was celebrated in Kathmandu and the Central Valley region of Nepal on 1 March, while the southern Terai and most of India took place on 2 March.


Note: Nepalis deliberately differ from India in many ways in order to prove their ethnic independence.

Of course, the celebration of Holi varies from place to place. In Uttar Pradesh, India, in addition to sprinkling powder, women have to chase men with wooden sticks, and men cannot fight back (very relieved that there are woods?). In Rajasthan, people twist water-soaked clothes into a rope and use them to hit people (it can hurt a little, so you must avoid it).


And in Varanasi, a Hindu holy place, people sprinkle water on each other and then take to the streets in droves. In rural areas, Holi is even more lively, sometimes celebrated for more than a month; In places like Bihar, people sing about spring, throw mud at each other and throw cow dung.

Holi Survival Manual

1. Buy a white T-shirt, worthless pants, and slippers that you can throw away at any time, and you can collect them as souvenirs when you are finished. Don't be delusional that you can go out of your body that day. The author's approach is to buy a set of clothes that will be exclusive to Holi every year. As another reminder, it's better to wear slippers! This is very important!

2. Try not to bring extra things out, if you want to bring it, please be sure to seal it with a plastic bag. Or store your belongings at a hotel or restaurant near Holi Party Square.

3. Choose the route of advance and retreat, the alley is the most dangerous place. When you are scattered and splashed, don't think about escaping, just close your eyes and shut your mouth and let others splash and wipe.

4. Bring more facial cleansers, shampoos, creams, and the like. The pigments used in Holi are basically made from natural minerals or plants, and they are still easy to clean.

5. Choose a high place to watch or take pictures of the panorama of the Holi Festival, you will have an unexpected feeling.

6. For friends who want to take pictures with DSLR. It is best to bring a camera rain cover. The easiest way is to wrap the camera tightly with plastic wrap, cheap and easy to use.

7. Some local men have bad intentions and will take the opportunity to rub oil on female tourists, please protect yourself. The Government of Nepal has issued an official circular asking Holi participants to observe etiquette and refrain from engaging in uncivilized behavior in the name of the festival.

8. It is important to pay attention to rain prevention on Holi Day, not only occasional rainfall but also basins of water falling from the sky.


Serious Carnival

Unlike many people's concept of "parkour" and "carnival", Holi is actually an extremely serious festival.

In the sense of the festival, the color symbolizes the arrival of spring, and the splashing of paint is to bridge the gap between caste and class (strictly speaking, people of lower castes only have access to people of higher castes on Holi). In short, it means equality and recovery.

Holi is the most "equal" festival among the many festivals in Hinduism. In high society, gently applying paint on the cheeks also means mutual acceptance.


Ironically, with the erosion of modern civilization, Holi in many parts of South Asia provided a great opportunity for local men to openly eat tofu from foreign female tourists, perhaps not even the great Vishnu.

Holi is arguably the most emblematic of the richness of Nepalese civilization: the sacred and the squamous, desires and holiness coexist, the humble are not necessarily noble, the powerful may be down, and caste barriers are broken and so deep-rooted. While centuries-old customs have been maintained, these precious legacies have been wiped out by modernization, money, and sexuality.

In recent years, Kathmandu's Holi festival has become increasingly unconventional, and after a brief morning prayer, Durbar Square is more like a boring and empty discotheque, filled with spears and cannons photographed by Chinese tourists, and more artistic, dancing in the red powder below, also Chinese.

However, it is precisely because this Himalayan country is so varied that it is worth loving it. During Holli, choose to go to the restaurant high in the square to watch the dancing beings, or find another ancient town without tourists.

Although the dangerous thing is beautiful, it is better to see her return on horseback.