At the beginning of March this year Nepal celebrated Holi, the festival of colours, and luckily for us we were there to join in. Celebrated across the Indian subcontinent, it’s a festival to welcome the beginning of spring and the end of winter, and to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Come the morning or March 1st I had purchased some Holi T-shirts, oiled our hair and skin with coconut oil, and rigged up a makeshift camera protector with a thick plastic bag and a few elastic bands. We were ready.
We thought we’d prepped the kids for what to expect. They were excited, they seemed totally into it. Until we actually went out. Suddenly they were freaking out at the idea of anybody touching them or wiping coloured powder on their face. They were hiding behind us, clinging onto our legs. Some well-meaning people gently wiped some colour on them and they both shrieked and ran away, crying as they tried to wipe the powder off their faces. Like, what the fuck kids? We totally told you this is exactly what was going to happen. You seemed fine with the idea. What the hell is going on???? They did not want to go home, but they did not want anyone to put any powder on them. Ummm, not possible.
We ducked into a hole-in-the-wall bakery and had lunch. We bought some powder and let the kids put some on us while we waited for food. Slowly, oh so slowly, they let us put some on them. We showed them how friendly everyone was being, how gentle people were. We promised to buy them water-guns. Eventually they chilled out about it and we didn’t have to go hide inside all day during our first ever Holi Festival. Phew.
And once they were into it, they were into it.
There was music in the air, dancing in the street, lots of smiling faces, and whole lot of colour.
The kids were a hit and everyone who passed by anointed them with colour, wishing them a “happy Holi!” as they did so. And Ben was grabbed for a few selfies, as per usual.
We ran into friends, got colourfully dirty and wet, and had a great time! If you ever get the chance to join in a Holi Festival – Do it!