Himal's Tale of Holi

Holi is the festival of colors and is celebrated in the Nepali month of Phalgun (February-March). The festival gets its name from the Puranic story of Holika. Holika was the sister of the demon-king. The king wanted his people to worship only him, but he found that his son Prahlada was a great worshipper of Lord Vishnu. So he decided to kill his son in collusion with his sister. Holika had been granted a boon that gave her power to protect herself from fire. Holika sat Prahlada on her lap and pretended to play with him while demon-king ordered his men to set the place on fire. But the Holika’s boon failed her. Holika was burned to ashes while Prahlada came out safely. The people believed that it was the power of Lord Vishnu that saved him.

Holi is celebrated on the full moon day of Phalgun at the start of the spring season. The festival is mostly celebrated by the people of Nepal and India. Here is how we celebrated Holi in Volunteer Nepal in 2018 with the NOH family.  We had wonderful time!

            *           *           *           *           *

When I woke up I was full of energy to participate in the festival. I started walking upstairs with a toothbrush in my hand. When I got on the balcony I saw Mike reading his thick book with a cup of tea as usual. He looked at me and smiled.  While I didn’t see many people, I saw some girls on the roof next door. Then I rushed inside the kitchen and grabbed the packet of water balloons and started filling them with water. I knew the battle would start pretty soon. Mike was also excited about the festival and asked me if it was ok to start throwing the water balloons at the people and I said “yes.” I could hear the voices of the kids who were throwing the water at the girls next door. So Mike took some water balloons and started throwing at the kids in the street. I finished filling the balloons with water and by that time Saroj brother had already come and we started battling with the girls next door. They were on the roof and we were on the balcony. We decided to take the bucket filled with water balloons and go on the top roof to continue the battle. All the girls were on one side and us poor three on the other side. Then Heather and Marie came and joined in the battle on our side. Saroj brother went to fill the bucket of water and poured it on Heather and Marie which was unexpected.  A little later Cindy showed up, protected with a water proof jacket. But it was little help when Saroj poured a bucket of water on her too. Now we had the whole house fighting the girls next door. It was a good battle, but we soon ran out of water bags and balloons. We had to stop for some time while Mike went to buy more colors and balloons.

A short while later, all the kids started going to Papa’s House for the big battle. I could see some of my school and college friends walking in the street with differently painted face. I could hardly recognize them. Suddenly we saw a bus filled with young people that stopped near the house. They started coming out with musical instruments, a mike and a huge speaker. They sang a cultural song and were dancing with the beat of the music. After some time the people left and we left too.

      When we reached Papa’s House I could see the brothers and sisters were throwing water and color at each other and we joined them. NO one could escape as the water and the color were flowing freely. We played until we were hungry and tired. Everyone sat down on the grass and had the lunch. Finally everyone went to their houses for much needed rest.