“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land.”
Holy, the festival of colors is a festival I have always wanted to see. Ever since I was young I remember seeing pictures and video clips of a crazy festival in India where everyone throws powdered colors. I even remember asking an Indian friend in Belgium about it because I was so intrigued. I did indeed get to partake in the somewhat crazy event here in Nepal, though unfortunately without any pictures as I didn’t want to ruin my camera.
Kevin and I left early in the morning to go food shopping, an absolutely stupid idea when you consider that everyone (and I mean everyone) is armed with powdered colors and water. We quickly abandoned our shopping plans and instead headed out with some friends (a Swiss cycling couple I met in Pokhara) to fully experience the craziness of this festival at the heart of the city. The town was swarming with Nepali teenagers and men in their twenties, all armed with bags of different colors and buckets of water. They would approach, sometimes gently and sometimes aggressively, before swiping colors all over your face. We were all covered from head to toe, and the chanting and excitement of the holiday was contagious.
By the time we arrived at the square where everyone was congregating we hadn’t seen the half of it though. The huge area was packed with rowdy and dancing Nepalis enjoying themselves to the fullest. There was loud music blaring and people everywhere with handfuls of bright colors. It was so crowded that just pushing our way through was immensely difficult and mildly stressful, though the singing and chanting all around us created a festive ambiance. It was interesting to see but a bit too overwhelming to be in the middle, I preferred watching the craziness from the sidelines for the most part.
Holi is a Hindu festival that is predominately known as the festival of colors (for obvious regions) as well as the festival of love. It also signifies “the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.” It was a lot of fun to take part in this insane festival, especially since it has intrigued me since I was a kid.