Holi Festival – A Nation-wide Water/Colour fight

by Annalise on March 4, 2010

We have many many things to write about from our recent trek in the Annapurna Conservation Area but we were very busy with the wrap up of our stay in Nepal; cleaning, packing, socializing, farewells, etc. And we now have the heady experience of writing about those fantastic Nepal experience from the extreme comfort and modernity of England which was our first destination post Kathmandu.

None the less, we’ll catch up on these stories and fill in this gap because those final Nepal weeks involved some fantastic high notes. The final blast though involved the Hindu Holi Festival on our last full day in Kathmandu.Holi

Holi involves the indiscriminate throwing of colour ‘bombs’ at anything that moves and its celebration lands on the date of the full moon late in February. It ramped up in our part of the city a few days prior with water balloons; this being a Nepalese variant on the festival. It built into the annual nation-wide or subcontinent-wide water and colour fight on Sunday, February 28.

At the height of the day, Robin with his friends Kirstie and Christopher along with our house mate Alexis were on the roof deck waging a water and colour powder war against three neighboring houses. The battles went on with hoots of laughter and much shrieking for almost three hours.

Robin found a white t-shirt so that he had a souvenir of this crazy day. It is no longer white but looks like a bad tie-dye job. It took him almost a half hour in the shower with exfoliating soap and gloves to remove most of the colour from his face, ears, hair and scalp, neck, hands, eye brows… you get the idea. What a riot. I stayed inside for much of the day, cleaning, cooking a bit for the kids and doing the final packing but Dave got into the fray too having been hit the day prior with a water bomb. The neighborhood was a complete riot of colour.

The final surprise though was when a group of Moms in saris came out late in the afternoon, covered head to tow in the colour dye as well. I was surprised because they’d been hanging back all day but when they came out the squeals and hoots hit one final roar and then all was quiet as the respective scrubbing showers began.

As we departed from Kathmandu early the next morning, there were remnants of evidence of Holi. Some of the airport staff still have coloured stained hands and many of the passengers still had a streak of colour here and there but everyone looks happy. A most cathartic event!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

LeeAnne Tedder March 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm

What a fabulous way to end your stay in Kathmandu. It almost sounds like it was a farewell to the three of you!

carla March 5, 2010 at 12:18 am

Now that sounds like the ideal water fight… Robin looks great

Shirley March 5, 2010 at 7:00 am

What fun. I can just see them up on the roof deck having the best time ever.

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