holi moley!

Wow!  Time really does get away from you!  I thought I posted this like 3 weeks ago, and apparently it didn’t happen.  And to top it off, I had written everything out, and like 80% of it has disappeared into the deep abyss of the world wide web.  So, for the sake of sanity, here is a (somewhat) condensed version.

Back in March was the celebration of Holi in Nepal.  Holi is a religious festival in the spring, where on the main day people throw colored powder and water on each other as a sort of game.  Along with this, there are also people on rooftops and decks pouring buckets of water on passersby and children hiding behind gates launching (homemade: read plastic bags) water balloons at you.  The whole day is about everyone having fun and there is very little traffic (many things are closed as it is a national holiday), so there are people “playing” Holi everywhere.  In Nepal this year, it was on the day of the full moon (extra craziness! though i think it may always be on the full moon).

Here’s a description of Holi in Nepal from wikipedia:

“In Nepal, Holi is regarded as one of the greatest festivals, as important as Dashain (also known as Dussehra in India) and Tihar or Dipawali (also known asDiwali in India). Since more than 80% of people in Nepal are Hindus, Holi, along with many other Hindu festivals, is celebrated in Nepal as a national festival and almost everyone celebrates it regardless of their religion, e.g., even Muslims celebrate it. Christians may also join in, although since Holi falls during Lent, many would not join in the festivities. The day of Holi is also a national holiday in Nepal.

People walk down their neighbourhoods to celebrate Holi by exchanging colours and spraying coloured water on one another. A popular activity is the throwing of water balloons at one another, sometimes called lola (meaning water balloon). Also a lot of people mix bhang in their drinks and food, as also done during Shivaratri. It is believed that the combination of different colours played at this festival take all the sorrow away and make life itself more colourful.:

Chris and I headed out from my apartment in Lazimpat with no particular plan in mind (other than that we were going to end up at the movie theater to watch the new Nepalese film, Sick City).  As soon as we walked into the courtyard of my building, the didis of my building got us.  And by got us, I mean, a giant bucket of red water was poured on us as we exited the compound.

In my neighborhood, it wasn’t too bad.  A few water balloons here, a hand print there.  As you can see, by the time we got out to the main street, it was still pretty tame:

the first bit of color
the hand print!

After my neighborhood, we headed down to Thamel, which is where the craziness really began.  The streets were filled with tourists and Nepali (mainly teenage) guys.

Chris getting his first big covering of color
the action in Thamel

After Thamel we made our way through the narrow alley streets towards Indra Chowk and then Durbar Square.  During this part of the walk, there were people on rooftops pouring huge buckets of water on all the passersby (this, was where i discovered all the women were, avoiding the mess) and on the streets were many more people ready to cover you with color.

women on the roof dumping water

When we finally made it to Durbar Square, there were a lot more people, but in many ways, a lot more calm.  With all of the police and military around, nobody was randomly attacking anyone with color.  You could actually stand in peace and just watch what was going on.  We certainly didn’t need anymore color added to our bodies at that point!

the end of the crazy color fighting
the crowd in Durbar Square

After Durbar Square, we finally made our way over to the mall to watch the movie.  Apparently, on Holi, the mall is where you go to avoid all things color.   We were the ONLY people in the entire place that had any bit of color on us.  We got lots of stares, laughs and acknowledgements.  The funniest part about this long Holi trek to the theater?  We went to the wrong one and they weren’t even playing our movie.  So we saw Battle Los Angeles instead…definitely not something I would have paid to see in the US.

We had a really great time throughout the day and while I was able to get the color out of my hair and off my skin, the clothing I was wearing that day is definitely still rangi changi (Nepali for colorful).  I think that maybe this whole experience is inspiration for having one really, fun, colorful collection (for any of you who have seen my last collection, it would definitely be a change of pace!)

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