Fagu Purnima (Holi) -the festival of Colors

Posted on Mar 15, 2014 by subodhscs under Culture and Festival

Tags: Fagu, Holi Purnima, Nepal, Festivals, Colors, Holi,

The colorful festival of Fagu Purnima is celebrated on the day following the full moon on the month of Falgun (February-March). With color powders, bucket of colored water, water guns and water balloons, this festival has evolved to be a celebration of the different colors of joy in life. This Hindu festival has its own mythological reason for celebration, yet the day is being widely popular among even non-Hindus community world over. Holi celebrates the triumph of good over the bad.  

The Mythology

As the myth goes, five year old Prince Prahlad-a devotee of Lord Bishnu, was asked by his demonic father, King Hiranyakashyapu to stop following lord Bishnu. Prahlad disobeyed his father’s orders so the king planned to kill his son to stop him from chanting the name and praising his enemy, Lord Bishnu. He, then requested his wicked sister Holika, who was blessed with a boon of being fire immune, to take his child on her lap into a blazing fire. God protected the saintly child so Prahlad emerged out unscathed, while his aunt burned to death. As a symbolic representation of this event, huge bonfires are burnt on the evening of Holi.

As per another Hindu Myth, Lord Krishna was always teased by all his girl friends for being Black (Kale). When he complained his mother Yashoda, about the everyday teasing and asked her why all the Gopinis were fair and he was dark, she gave him color powders and asked him to throw it on all Gopinis so that they all look colored.  Krishna did what his mother had instructed and all his girlfriends loved the color game. Thus this day celebrates the love and joy Krishna and his girlfriend shared.

Celebration in Nepal

In Nepal, the way this festival is celebrated, varies widely depending on the area and the community.

Kathmandu and other Hilly districts

In Kathmandu, Fagu, as it is better known, begins a week earlier than the full moon night. As per traditional rituals, a tuft with colorful cloths on the top of a bamboo pole, brought from Bansghari of Bhaktapur is erected at Basantapur, the center of Kathmandu City. The erected Bamboo is called Lingo and the colorful cloths(Chir). On the evening of Fagu Purnima, the Lingo is taken down and the Chir is burnt. The event is called Chir Haran or Holika Dahan (the burning of Holika).

The installation of Lingo indicates the beginning of the weeklong celebration. Throughout the week, you’ll see kids playing with water guns and water balloons. Boys and girls throw water balloons at each other, so be careful if you are around. On the very day, people come out on streets with color powders, buckets of colored water and smear color powder at each other. Elders believe that any premonitions can be avoided if "Tika" made from the ashes of the 'Chir' is put on one's forehead or kept in the house.


Holi in the Terai region is celebrated on the day following the full moon night. This means, the fagu purnima in the hilly districts is celebrated a day earlier than Holi in the districts of Terai region. Its a festive holiday in all the districts in the Terai region. From the early morning, people play with color power and splash color water on each other. Also in some areas, at the road junctions, Matka breaking ceremony are organized. An earthen pot (matka) full of milk, ghee and fruits is hung with ropes at great height. Young men form pyramids and one of them climbs to break the pot. Women throw buckets of water to prevent men from breaking the matka. Symbolic pyres of holika, created out of wood and cow dungs in the evening and burnt to cleanse the air of evil spirits.

Special Dishes at Holi/Fagu Purnima

Sweet shops sell laddus with Bhang (Cannabis). Home made Guzzias and lassi with bhang are very distributed in the neighborhood.

Let the celebration begin. Enjoy the bash with gulal, abeer (red vermilion powder) with the pails of colored water and mouthwatering laddus.

Play safe and Happy Holi/Fagu !!!!

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