The Hindu Festival of Colors – Holi – took a tragic turn yesterday when two young Kathmandu residents died while participating in the holiday. A ten-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl both fell off the roofs of buildings while engaged in the practice of hurling balloons filled with colored water at passers-by.
In addition, reports indicate that four people were injured, and another 665 merry-makers were arrested in the capital for indecent behavior. It’s a sad story, but it will not dampen the joyous festivities surrounding Nimesh’s wedding tomorrow — Friday – to Bhawana.
The ancient Hindu festival of Holi falls on late February or on early March [at the full moon]. Allegedly named after the mythical demoness Holika, it is a day when the feast of colours is celebrated…..People can be seen wandering through the streets either on foot or on some vehicle, with a variety of colours smeared over them….Families and friends get together and celebrate the occasion with a lot of merry making. This spring time celebration is also an outburst of youthful exuberance in which throwing colours and water bolloons (lolas) on passers-by is acceptable.
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Holi is also a time when the normal distinctions in Nepali society – age, gender, caste – are relaxed a bit. As we’ve also seen, it’s a time of (often alcohol-fueled) shenanigans by the young celebrants.