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With different colours, Holi brings different feelings to different people

Holi, the festival of colours, is back again. The festival has stood the test of time, but, apparently, the colours of the festival have changed a lot in the past few years.

Remember those days, when young boys used to attack girls and women with lolas (balloons filled with water) from a week earlier? In those days for girls and women, it used to be a different kind of struggle walking on the street amidst the fear of lola attacks from the boys.

Thankfully, as it appears, these days are no more, of course for the sake of a safe and relaxed celebration.

Every year, people all over Nepal celebrate Phagu Poornima/Holi with the same vigour and enthusiasm. However, the ways of celebration differ from person to person, place to place, generation to generation, and time to time.

Let’s find out how different people enjoy this festival today and in the past from their own words.

Renuka KC, 30, Makawanpur

Renuka KC

From a week prior to Holi till the main day of the festival used to be horrible for us. As the festival neared, schoolboys used to ruin our school uniform by throwing lolas filled with colourful water and at times even with filthy water, mainly after school. Sometimes, I along with my friends used to counterattack by splashing them with a huge bucket of water. After that, I used to feel as if I had won the greatest battle. That feeling used to be extraordinary.

But now, things have changed and so have I. I am married and the mother of a two-year-old son. Thankfully, there came strict rules and restrictions, due to which the festival became safer and relaxed.

These days, I celebrate the festival with my in-laws. We all gather together on our rooftop, splash colour-filled water to each other, and dance together. We all became carefree and childlike on this day and the festival has given us time to reconnect with our family and extended family members. 

Suyogi Bhandari, 11, Kathmandu

Suyogi Bhandari playing Holi with her neighbourhood’s sisters . Photo: Suyogi Bhandari

For as long as I remember, my mother always got me and my little brother Holi t-shirts, water guns, plastic bags, balloons, and colours for Holi. We always have so much fun on Holi.  Our Holi excitement is just next level.

I mostly enjoy Holi with my seniors in my neighbourhood as I gel very well with them. Sometimes, some sisters had to go to their work, therefore, they insisted on not celebrating Holi. But, I never let them escape without firing them with colourful water with my water guns and putting colours on their faces. And, they just call me crazy.

This year, I have asked my mummy to get me colour smoke bombs for Holi. Hopefully, I will get the one. And, I also wish to go to some concerts and celebrate Holi someday as many youth do nowadays. But, my parents say it is not safe.

Raj Neupane, 24, Kalikot

Raj Neupane

I do not know why Holi does not excite me like other festivals today. I heard about the boys targeting girls with lolas a week prior to Holi in the city areas after I came to Kathmandu some eight years ago.

But, in my village, we did not have balloons to fill them with water and hit others. In fact, we had no idea about lolas at that time. Neither were the colours available there.

Hence, we had discovered our own way of celebrating Holi by splashing each other with water mixed with cow dung. And, we used to do this from a week before the actual date. 

Sudarshan Chhetri, 65, Kathmandu

Sudarshan Chhetri

I am not a Holi enthusiast and never had been one. When I was a child and even in my youth, we neither had enough money nor enough water to celebrate Holi. Our village, which is on the western outskirts of the Kathmandu valley, used to have a scarcity of water.

Water was one of the most valuable assets then, so we never wanted to waste it by throwing on each other just for the sake of celebration, which even did not last longer than that moment. Fortunately, now the problem of the water supply is over. But, still, I do not celebrate Holi. Having said that, some of my elders in my village put tika on my forehead on this day and I do not mind that at all. I just enjoy seeing my children and grandchildren play Holi. I cook delicious food for them on this day.

Lalan Sah, 40, Birgunj

As we celebrate Holi the day after it is celebrated in the hilly region, I am heading towards my home at Birgunj for the celebrations. Holi has been always special for me, my family and my community. No matter wherever we are, all of us gather together and celebrate Holi wearing white clothes. Some even have food and drink mixed with hemp. On the eve of Holi, we build a bonfire and enjoy. I have been celebrating Holi like this from my early days and the enthusiasm is still the same.

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