Holi: More than Festival of Colours


Holi began officially on March 5 (Falgun Shukla Astami) with the installation of a wooden pole called Chir at Basantapur. Celebrated on the day of Falgun Shukla Purnima every year (on March 12 in the Capital this year), Holi has many essences associated with it — it is more than just the Festival of Colours. From merrymaking to carrying forward the culture while understanding the legends behind its celebrations, this festival is loved by many. And thanks to the recent change in people's ruthless behaviour (of attacking strangers, especially women with lolas), the celebration seems to be going in the right direction. Yet people still seem to lack ample knowledge behind its celebration, and they want more information on it.

A safer atmosphere

A few years ago, Holi meant terror for women. As early as a month before the festival, people would start attacking women and with water-filled balloons and plastics (popular as lola). It would practically be impossible to go out of one's home a few days before Holi as people would hurl lolas targeting women, from anywhere — windows, terraces, roadsides, public vehicles and so on.

"People throwing lolas used to remind us about the festival's arrival in the past," recalled Priyanka Kamatad, a student of Hotel Management, residing in Jadibuti.

"People used to target our private areas with the water-filled balloons," Mingma Sherpa, a Bachelor's level student added.

Thankfully, the situation has changed for the better. "These days it is safe to walk around," Sherpa shared.

Implementation of strict legal provisions over the last few years — that punishes those throwing water and lolas at passers-by — is one of the reasons for people's change in behaviour.

"It is against the law to hurl water-filled balloons at pedestrians, splash water and smear colours against anyone's will. If someone is found misbehaving under the pretext of celebrating Holi, s/he will be arrested and be charged under public offence depending upon the gravity of the crime," warned Bam Bahadur Bhandari, Acting Commissioner and DIG at Metropolitan Police Range, Ranipokhari.

Adarsha Raj Acharya, a plus-two student residing in Naikap, has noticed many visitors (national and international) keen to know about the Chir. And there is no one to explain anything about it. "Had a short information about the Chir been placed here (at the site), it would have been a great help for all," expressed Acharya.

To explain to others about a certain festival, the person needs to have ample knowledge about it. Teachers, who are there to impart knowledge, should be the source of information for the students. "However, they too are unaware about the festival," as per Dr Khatiwada.

As a solution to this, he advised, "If we can give them training about the festivals, I hope the children will learn better. People should know about the festivals as they are our identities. Culture and traditions help in the economic and social development of a nation."