Holi In Nepal – The Festival Of Colors

Nepal is renowned for various festivals. Some travel blog also symbolizes it as country of nonstop festivals. There are more than three hundred and sixty-five festivals in a year. But talking about Holi, this is probably the most colourful festival from the Nepalese Calendar; at least for me, it is the most colourful festival. This is not about religion; no matter whether Hindu or Buddhist or Christian or Muslim, everybody on the street seems to be enjoying the festival.

This is the melting pot for all religions of Nepal. Right next to the day of the celebration of Holi in Nepal, India also celebrates the same festival of colour. Despite happiness and harmony, it may be time for being more careful with people who have skin allergies.

Along with skin allergies, there are several other health-related factors that one needs to pay attention to. In this page, I will be discussing the cons of the festival and some things that one needs to pay attention to stay safe during Holi.

I want to discuss four different topics that I found directly or indirectly related to Holi and recommend you pay attention to these factors if you are planning to celebrate the festival of colours in Nepal or India.

1. Skin Allergies

people playing holi with colours

Holi is supposed to be played with natural colours and water. It used to happen like that before. But I think mainly because of the scarcity of water in Kathmandu, people started using a dirty water source. Different chemical colours are used during Holi.

Among those colours available in the market, a high level of mercury sulphite, lead oxide and copper sulphate are used. With direct contact with skin, these ingredients can result in skin cancer. Puffiness, mild burning, stinging, redness are signs of skin allergies. These initial signs can even result in a blister. If those blisters rupture, then they might end in secondary bacterial infections.

If you have sensitive skin, I recommend you not to expose yourself on the streets. People with asthma can be more affected by particles used in colours. Instead of traditional red and yellow colour, the trend has completely changed nowadays.

Especially youths love to do face painting with shining colours manufactured with powder glass. When people inhale those components, such as colour particles, they get settled on kidneys, liver, nose and ears. Silica is used in Coto producing more shine, but it might negatively affect the skin if it reacts with some other oils.

I’m twenty-four years old when I’m writing this article, and according to doctors, a child’s skin is more sensitive than ours. So if you are a parent with a child, then I recommend you to take care of your children. Make sure they are not playing such highly toxic colours.

2. Hair and Nail Care

people playing holi with waters and colours

You will definitely use your hand to play with colours. Your hair will be exposed too. After skin, your hair and nail are found mostly affected by colours and chemical. Colours might lead to natural oil destructions, so your hair might be more fragile, dry and stained.

Similar to your hair, harmful chemicals might stain your nail, especially underneath. If you eat with your hand even after washing it properly, you might end on food poisoning. I recommend using a spoon for a couple of days; even after the festival, you feel like vomiting or end with diarrhoea or abdominal pain, then blame those colours and go to the nearest medical consultant for some medicine or advice.

3. Physical Injuries

Holi colours

Colour won’t result in physical injuries normally, but if your eyes are exposed to silica, it might result in temporary or permanent blindness. Apart from colours, people are found throwing balloons and plastic filled with water. One should be highly cautious while playing Holi from the roof of the building cause’ every year I hear about people falling from roofs.

Apart from that, even on the streets, people are found running here and there. The road surface is definitely more slippery than it used to be. Just in case if you slip down, then the chances of getting physical injury is very high.

Hurled water balloons can hurt a lot if they hit sensitive parts of the human body. I mostly find girls being targeted by those hurled water balloons and plastic. News of a girl being knocked down getting unconscious was quite common in the past because of balloons and plastics. I recommend everyone to play Holi being well mannered and don’t just make the girl your target.

4. Stay away from intoxicants

Stay away from intoxicants in holi

The culture of consuming alcohols and marijuana is quite common during Holi. Although weeds are not legal, like in the Shivaratri Festival, people are more stoned and drunk during Holi.

If such drunk or stoned people get physically injured, then the chances of breathing are high. Apart from these, people also involved in quarrelling after consumption of alcohol.

With strict traffic police action against drink and drive, the accidents rate are found to be reduced drastically compared to the past few years. It is better to avoid riding a two-wheeler during Holi cause’ even if you are careful, you might get hurt. For example, if hurled water balloons hit you either intentionally or unintentionally while riding, then you might easily lose control, and anything bad can happen.

In my opinion, if you practice following rules and play safe then I bet there won’t arise such circumstances unfavorable for you and society.

  • Avoid playing Holi on the rooftop, and avoid running and jumping on the wet floor.
  • Do not consume alcohol. Even if you are not riding, please don’t consume alcohol or any other intoxicants.
  • When possible, wear sunglasses, whereas while talking with others, remove them and make better communication through eye contact.
  • Avoid artificial shiny and chemical colours. Instead, try to play with traditional red and yellow colours.
  • Block opening of your ears with cotton balls. (If possible, use some Vaseline on cotton)
  • Apply moisturizing lotion on your body firmly before exposing yourself to the street.
  • It will be better to wear full-sleeved cloth rather than half or sleeveless cloth.
  • Apply some oil on your hair; better wrap your head with plastic or a scarf for extra protection.
  • While preparing or mixing colour or making colour solution, try to use ‘use and throw’ medical gloves.
  • If you feel like skin allergies or something uncomfortable, quit playing immediately and wash your body with soap.
  • Just try to play with plain water and make it is clean too. Please don’t use contaminated water.
  • Do not force anyone to play; let them enjoy watching you and others.
  • Take a good bath with moisturizing soaps and use lots of moisturizing creams at least for a week, even if you don’t use moisturizing cream frequently.

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Article by Pradeep Guragain

Pradeep is the co-founder of Magical Nepal. He was born and bred in Nepal and is a seasoned hiker and rider.

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