Holi Festival in Nepal, A festival of Colors

  • Last Updated on Sep 18, 2023

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A popular and one of the important festivals in the Hindu religion which is filled with beautiful colors and representation of victory, happiness, and excitement over the demons. The Holi festival is often called the “ Festival of Colors” celebrated with the utmost joy across the country.

Holi festival is the most popular festival ceremony not only in Nepal but also in the Indian subcontinent. In Nepal, we normally call this festival “ Phagu Purnima” which normally falls either the last week of February or early March annually. In Nepal, the Holi festival is celebrated for two days. On the earlier day normally the people from the Hilly region and mountain area celebrate this festival whereas, on the second day, people from the Terai region celebrate this festival. 

Story of Holi Festival in Nepal 

Holi festival is celebrated in the victory over the devil. The story includes the God Vishnu as well as his devotee Prahlada. According to the Hindu sacred book “ Bhagwat Gita” there is a king named “ Hiranyakashipu” The sacred book also written that there was a demon king “Asura” who had got the special power from God and because of boon, neither a human being nor any other animal could kill him. Seeing such devotion towards Lord Vishnu makes Hiranyakashipu even more furious. That makes him call his sister Holika to trick Prahlada to sit with her in a burning fire. At the same time, Prahalada was sitting without any protection. After both of them sat inside a fire was born. But in the end, Holika was burned by fire and Pralahada was alive.

Lord Vishnu was seeing all the activities and he appeared in the form of Narasimha ( half human and half lion) and he was also aware of the boon of the Hiranyakashipu. Narsimha chose to dusk to take Hiranyakashipu at the doorstep and place him on his lap and with his lion claws, he killed the Hiranyakashipu, and from that time Holi festival is celebrated. 

How Holi is Celebrated in Nepal? 

Holi festival in Nepal is celebrated with great enthusiasm, joy, happiness, and a victory over the devil. During this festival, people put colors on each other, paint their faces with different colors, splash colorful water on each other, and organize parties in the home with delicious foods and drinks. During the daytime, most people go out to play colors with friends, colleagues, and relatives. Holi festival in Nepal is also a sign of welcoming summer ( spring season). It is believed that like colors, life runs colorfully through the year. At Kathmandu, thousands of people gather in Basantapur Square and carry colors and water, and their faces are painted and they wish each other and enjoy the vibes. Holi festival is the most common festival here in Nepal where people from any community, or religion can easily come and participate and you can see so many foreigners also enjoy this moment. 

How is Holi celebrated in the Hilly Region? 

When it comes to the Hilly region, Basantapur always comes in 1st place. During the festival, the Holi starts from Basantapur with a long bamboo stick covered with several colorful pieces of cloth known as Chir and is erected along the Kathmandu Durbar Square. The celebration starts further and continues to Thamel Street with a lot of colors, water, food, music, and dance. On this day, people splash and rub dry colors on each other’s faces to express love and harmony, care, and blessings along with good wishes. Alongside the street, people play beautiful colors, face paintings, water guns, balloons, and lots of music and dances. You can experience the whole environment filled with celebration, happiness, and joy.

How is Holi celebrated in the Terai Region?

Terai Holi is a bit different from the Hilly region. They play Holi on the next day in the Hilly region. In Terai, people gather in one place and they visit their relative's and friends' houses and wish them well. They put colors on each other to convey their love, respect, and blessings. People organize parties at some point and enjoy music, food, dance, and fun. 

Popular Places to experience the Holi Festival in Nepal. 

Almost all parts of Nepal celebrate this colorful festival. But like travel, there are few places where they organize festivals in such a way that everyone from across the country can come and celebrate like local people. 

  • 1st- Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Thamel, and a few other places in Kathmandu are the most popular destinations for the Holi celebration. 
  • Pokhara, especially lakeside, is another popular destination for the Holi festival. If you are in Nepal, either you can stay in Kathmandu or you can go to Pokhara for the Holi festival. 
  • Several other Terai regions like Nepaljung, Dhandagi, Janakpur, Birgunj, Jhapa, and other cities are popular for Holi festival celebrations. 

Safety Tips for Celebrating Holi Festival in Nepal 

  • Use sunglasses to protect your eyes from colors, water, and other playing things. 
  • Use proper and essential clothes, so that you can avoid skin burns or harmful effects from colors. 
  • If you have an allergy to colors, please do not play or just play with a few closed circles. 
  • Do not use watches, jewelry, and other expensive gadgets. It may get lost sometimes inside the crowd. 
  • The chemicals in the colors may cause skin rashes and allergies. So, as soon as you finish playing Holi, clean your skin and put on the necessary lotions.

Holi festival is a colorful festival that offers an amazing experience for travelers to enjoy the Nepalese culture, lifestyle, and hospitality along with the essence of the festival. Whatever the belief behind this festival, the festival ultimately unites people together with their loved ones and helps to make their life colorful.

The Holi Festival in Nepal for 2024 will be celebrated on the 24th and 25th of March. On the 24th, people from the Hilly region will celebrate, and on the 24th of March, people from the Terai region will celebrate this colorful festival. Nepal is culturally rich, so it offers numerous popular festivals around the year. If you want to experience the Nepalese culture and festivals along with trekking and different tours. Please do contact us.

Sneha Shree Gupta

Sneha Shree Gupta

Sneha has been working in the travel industry for more than three years. While working closely with active climbers and mountaineers, she has been able to collect and write very informative articles. With multiple years of experience, she intends to offer reliable information to travellers from all around the globe.