What a great time I had in Kathmandu with the Holi Festival. It is a public holiday and people are just enjoying themselves with water and coloured powders!
You will be a mess if you join them on the streets (which you should do). So, old clothes are important and protect your camera if you take it with you.
I was invited to join a family in the celebrations. We walked through the streets of Kathmandu and had great traditional Nepali food.
Joining the festivities of Holi was one of my highlights of my second visit to Kathmandu.
We had the priviledge of experiencing the famous Teej festival in the heartland of Nepal. We also had the opportunity of visiting Nepalese home to witness the festival in both rural and urban area. The festival was celebrated on 14th and 15th September. First we visited Hanuman Dhoka, Durbar square to see women thronging at the Siva Parvati temple, then to Dakshin Kali Temple and while returning the rural women participating sang Teej songs, for us in the bus, which we recorded in length. We also visited some Nepalese homes including our VT friend Urvashi Rana and some rural homes in Dakshin Kali Temple area. Please read the history of the festival.
"Teej" is the fasting festival for women. It takes place in August or early September. The festival is a three-day long celebration that combines sumptuous feasts as well as rigid fasting. Through this religious fasting, hindu women pray for marital bliss, well being of their spouse and children and purification of their own body and soul.
Traditionally, the ritual of Teej is obligatory for all Hindu married women and girls who have reached puberty. Exception is made for the ones who are ill or physically unfit. In such circumstances a priest performs the rites. According to the holy books, the Goddess Parbati fasted and prayed fervently for the great Lord Shiva to become her spouse. Touched by her devotion, he took her for his wife. Goddess Parbati, in gratitude sent her emissary to preach and disseminate this religious fasting among mortal women, promising prosperity and longevity with their family. Thus was born the festival of Teej.
Gaily dressed women can be seen dancing and singing on the street leading to Shiva temples. The main puja (religious ceremony) takes place with offerings of flowers, fruits etc made to Shiva and Parbati, beseeching their blessing upon the husband and family. The important part of the puja is the oil lamp which should be alight throughout the night for it is bad omen if it dies a
Great time to be in Katmandu during this festival. Decorations are put up on buildings, streets and in front of Hindu homes, colorful powder on the road in front of the door beautiful designs like lotus and oil lamps lighted. It is like a new year and locals wear their best and go to the temples to pray.
However it can be difficult time to get bus or air tickets. Was not able to get bus tickets to Pokhara although there were extra bus services. So just stay put and enjoy the celebration.
Date of Deepavali is at the end of the year but changes on the Gregorian year and so check the calendar.
At the festival that took place in november, many goats were offered. It was a call for good luck for the next year. All kind of vehicles received a blessing. At this picture you can see a truck being blessed by the offerings of a goat. Even the spare parts and tools were not forgotten.
Even if you don't like this sight it's almost unavoidable when you walk through the streets.
We heard that after the festival the meat of the goats will be shared among many people.
Sorry I don't mean to scare anyone!
Whenever there's a festival, locals put TIKA on their forehead, it means blessing and peace. After I put it on mine, many people just keep looking and smiling at me. I was worried about whether only locals can put it or not, in fact, everyone can do this.
Good luck to all!
Around fullmoon in March Holi is celebrated in Nepal like similar festivals around Asia. Bands of young men are running through the streets of Kathmandu throwing water and coloured powder at people. Unfortunately there are boys, who use smelly water and varnish paint. If you go on the streets on this day, then be prepared to return to your hotel completely soaked and smelly! I did it. The weather was sunny but cold. My camera got almost wet. I was shivering with cold, when I returned to my room. I stood under the hot shower for about an hour with all my clothes on. Afterwards I threw my t-shirt away.
Be prepared to get soaked and as a women you get touched. But when you smile at the boys , they smile back at you and everything will be OK. You go on the streets at your own risk.