Holi in Nepal - How The Beautiful nation Celebrates the Festival of Colours

The eagerly awaited festival of Holi marks the end of the winter season and beginning of the Spring or Phalguna according to the Hindu calendar. Holi, the glorious Indian celebration is rejoiced not only in different parts of India but also globally. Holi in Nepal is revelled in the Falgun month of Nepali Calendar with the colours and water balloons just like in India.

Holi in Nepal

Holi in Nepal Dates 

Dates for 2019 - March 20 and March 21
Dates for 2020 - March 9 and March 10

Holi in Nepal Festivities - Rituals and Traditions

Holi in Nepal

1. Chir Haran

Slightly different from the way it’s celebrated in India, Holi in Nepal starts with a traditional ceremony. This involves raising a bamboo stick bound with Chir (shading materials) in the Bashantapur Durbar Square and many other parts of Nepal one week before Holi. On the evening of Holi, the Chir is brought down by burning it as this marks the beginning of the Holi festival. This is called as Chir Haran or Holika Dahan, and later Holi is welcomed by the locals with colours, music and gorging on delicacies. Chir Haran occurs on the eighth day with women in their traditional attires performing pooja around the fire. Along with carrying sacred things, ladies wish for a prosperous year ahead.

2. Carnival in Basantpur Durbar

Holi in Basantpur
Holi Celebrations in Basantpur Source

Holi is one of the most prominent and enjoyed moments in Kathmandu between February and March. The whole of Nepal has fun by splashing colours and throwing water balloons in a friendly way, though with friends and family. A carnival takes place on the day of Holi on the Basantapur Durbar area as it’s a popular spot for Holi celebration in Kathmandu. Not everyone comes to have fun here, and the rest rejoice in closed communities or with the family. Many tourists prefer visiting Nepal during this time to witness the grandness of the event on the streets. Even the Terai region has Holi events in smaller sizes as the locals of the hilly areas also love this festival.

3. The Highlight A.K.A The Street Party!

Streets of Basantpur during Holi
It is a national celebration in Nepal on the day of Holi as the area of Durbar Square and surrounding areas become a lively spot. Pichkaris or water gun is the best way to indulge in water Holi with the Nepalis, especially if you are a tourist. Colours splashes can be enjoyed with natural colours made from sandalwood or turmeric, but that’s again rare in today’s times. Synthetic colours are used as they are available cheaply anywhere in Kathmandu during the festival. Gulal or the red colour is the primary colour of the festival, and without it, the celebration will be not so lively.

Food During Holi in Nepal

Besides dabbing hues of various colours on each other, one thing that is mostly part of Holi is the desserts. Some of the most commonly relished sweets at this festival of colours are:

1. Gujiya

Gujiya, Holi in Nepal

True to its origin, Gujiya is one sweet that finds its forever place in the Holi festival. Made of Maida or flour with a yummy filling of dry fruits in it is a complete dessert altogether. This sweet is mostly savoured in the Northern part of India as that’s where it all started.

2. Bhang Lassi

Bhang, Holi in Nepal

Holi in Nepal is almost incomplete without this drink as everyone at least has one or more depending upon their drinking capacity. Thandai as it is also called as includes a cocktail made up of Indian spices, milk and cannabis or bhang powder. Over the years though the drink has gained a bad reputation by some people, it is still a delectable and healthy drink for this festival.

3. Malai Peda

Malai Peda, Holi in Nepal

These softballs made up of milk cream or malai and garnished with dry fruits like pistachios, almonds or cashews are a favourite for any festival. With many flavours like, for example, Saffron or Kesa, Pedha is loved by people of all age groups.

4. Bhang Laddoos 

Just like the normal bhang, the laddoos can also be prepared with bhang added to the usual ingredients. It is also believed to be a great way to release your anxiety by consuming Bhaang as per the Ayurveda. So the next time you pop a Bhaang laddoo while enjoying your Holi you don’t have to worry about the consequences!

5. Lassi

Another drink in case you are not a big fan of Thandai is the classic Lassi. Some prefer to enjoy this festival in sober, and that’s when Lassi can be gulped down without killing the festive vibe.
Apart from the different ways, Holi in Nepal is celebrated in different parts of the world what matters the most is the union. We all take time out of our hectic lives to come and celebrate this beautiful festival of colours. Regardless of religion, people all over the world enjoy this carnival every year.

This post was published by Snehal Jadhav

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