If there is one festival that celebrates colour, it’s Holi. It’s a Hindu religious festival lasting up to 16 days, where the main day is celebrated by people throwing powder and literally being covered from head to toe in a rainbow of colour. It certainly brings back many happy memories when I was lucky enough to be in Nepal during Holi.
It’s celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month. It has come to symbolise communal harmony and love, the losing of one’s social identity for a brief time in a sea of colour. Traditionally on the day of Holi, people exchange gifts and sweets and anoint each other with colour to celebrate the joy of life. Gone are the times of anointing, it certain feels like colour is literally raining down on you!
There are many stalls where you can buy bags of colour and then it’s game on. If you dare to venture outside there’s no way you’re going to come home anything other than colourful!
One of my trips to Nepal just happened to coincide with Holi.
I had been trekking in the Himalayas, and came down from the mountains into Kathmandu just as the festival of Holi was taking place. Men, women and children take to the streets and drench each other with coloured powder and water. The air is painted in every colour of the rainbow, blues, yellows, greens, reds, violets and pinks, each one of which has a meaning in the Indian psyche.
I was working in IT at that time, and when I arrived in the UK from Holi I had to go to a job interview. But I couldn’t get the colours out of my hair. I sat in that grey office, hair twisted and pinned up, desperately trying to hide all the colours, but still knowing they were there in all their glory. Perhaps the universe was trying to tell me something?
Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from my Holi experience to share with you. I was having so much fun that I completely forgot to take any which isn’t a bad thing I guess, being fully present and immersed in the moment. The colour may have faded from my hair but the memories are still in vibrant colour. Next time!
Have you experienced Holi? What are your fondest memories? And if you haven’t been, it’s something to behold, just remember to keep your mouth closed, I know from experience!
Wishing you a wonderful week.
Extract from The Little Book of Colour. You can download the first chapter free here..
First published 30th March 2021 | Updated 8th March 2023