“Happy Holi!” all the Nepali people said as we walked by in the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal. People all covered by colourful powder walked by and tried to cover me as much as possible. I am smiling and enjoy all the amazing colours on my clothes, arms and face. I was lucky to experience this amazing yearly celebration of Nepal. This blog post will help you to prepare yourself for celebrating the Holi festival as smooth as possible.
Holi festival in Nepal
Holi is a spring festival which is celebrated in India and Nepal and is known as the festival of colours. During the festival everyone is covered by coloured powder and water. Holi in Nepal starts one week before the main day of Holi. The entire week you will be the target for young children throwing water on you. During Holi itself, the colourful powders will also be used to cover everyone.
1. Wear proper clothes
During the Holi festival it is nice to wear white clothes. On these clothes you can clearly see all the colourful powder, which will look fun in the end of the day. There is a huge chance, that you cannot wash the ink out, so do not bring any expensive clothes with you, but just buy some cheap white clothes from the local market. I bought a pants and white traditional T-shirt for just € 7 Euros. I recommend to wear some old sneakers or flip flops.
2. Wear sunglasses
I definitely can recommend to wear sunglasses in order to protect your eyes from powder being thrown in your face. The powder can hurt very bad in your eyes.
3. Protect your hair
It is possible that the powder get mixed with real paint and because of this, you may still enjoy all the wonderful colours in your hair for a couple of weeks after Holi. Unless you like pink, green or blue hair, it is good to take some preparations to protect your hair. You can for instance wear a cap or a head wrap to protect your hair. I did not use any hair protection during the Holi festival, but was lucky to wash all the colours out of my hair that day.
4. Protect your camera or use a Go Pro
It is amazing to take some pictures during the Holi festival, but prepare your camera well! Seal the body of your camera with for instance a ziplock bag and tape. Make sure, the colourful powders AND water will not be deadly to your camera or phone. Personally, I do not recommend to take your phone or any other expensive belongings with you, unless it is a Go Pro. I just had my Go Pro and some pocket money with me.
5. Check the places to be
On many squares or fields something special will be organised during the Holi festival. Ask the employees of your ho(s)tel or your local friends for the best places to be. In Kathmandu I went to the main touristic area, Thamel, where different things like, music areas, were organised.
6. Wear a mask
Often the powder will get thrown in your face AND mouth. A mask will help you to consume less colourful powder with your mouth and most of all will guarantee that your face will not be covered by waterproof paint and let you look like a clown for next month.
7. Go with a group
When you go by a group, you will definitely have more fun, but it is also more safe. The streets are very busy and sometimes the local people try to sexually assault you (random boob and butt grabs). When you celebrate Holi in a group, it will happen less.
8. Be prepared for some pain
The water balloons, thrown by the young Nepali kids, can really hurt sometimes. Be prepared to find some bruises on your body the next day.
9. Be prepared for getting wet
Since Holi in Nepal starts one week before the main day of Holi, you will be for the entire week a target for young children to throw water on you. I went four days before the Holi festival back to Kathmandu and every day I got many water balloons and buckets water on me while walking on the streets or in the touristic areas. Aarghhh, just keep calm.
10. Do not worry, but be happy
Even though you will get covered by water for an entire week or get coloured by waterproof paint, just enjoy the Holi festival and do not get angry with the local people. It is your own choice to celebrate this amazing tradition and yes, sometimes those annoying water balloons will definitely hurt or yes, you cannot really appreciate the fourth free shower on a ‘regular’ sightseeing day.
I definitely enjoyed the Holi festival in Nepal. I hope these tips will prepare you well for celebrating this amazing once in a lifetime experience!
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