Nepal is a culturally diverse country. Here we celebrate several festivals, each of them consisting of its distinct cultural importance. Every region has its unique styles and rituals for celebrating these festivals and showcasing its community. In this multilingual and multicultural country, every day is a festival here.
Holi is a Hindu festival that harbingers the spring season with love and new life. Holi, also known as “Phagu Purnima,” has become one of the most adored festivals in the Nepalese community. Like many Hindu festivals, Holi has more than one cultural significance. Some families hold religious ceremonies, but for many Holi is more a time for fun. It’s a colorful festival, with dancing, singing and throwing of powder paint and colored water.
Holi is also known as the “festival of colors”, spraying 7 colors (rainbow) as known as Indreni in Nepal.
Myths behind celebration
In India, the tradition centers around the demonic siblings Holika and Hiranyakashipu. It came into practice as a festivity when a devil king Hiranyakashipu plotted to kill his son Prahlad with the help of his sister Holika. Holika was a recipient of a holy boon, which enabled her to resist the fire. She entered the burning fire with Prahlad in her lap. Prahlad, a true devotee of Lord Vishnu was saved from the accident while Holika was burnt to ashes. Hence, many people believe the festival was named after Holika. In short, it is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil.
But in Bhaktapur Nepal, there is a unique myth: Holi Punhi is celebrated by worshiping Bhimsen as the god of trade and singing a Newari song on the floor of the famed Bhimsen Temple in Bhaktapur, which is located in front of Dattatraya temple.
Besides the myths and the colors, the native enjoys the season of spring-blooming everywhere saying goodbye to the chilling winter season. As much as it has cultural significance they also believe that is a blessing from the god for their upcoming harvest and land fertility. On this day the plains of Nepal are filled with the echoes of “Happy Holi”.
While people love to celebrate to include their furry friends in festivities, they often forget to count the harmful impact the festivals have on their pets.
How to have a safe Holi for your pets and community Dogs?
🐾Do not throw water balloons or put colors on stray animals. And do not let anyone do the same to your pet as it can be traumatizing for both.
🐾Traditionally, the colorful powders thrown during Holi were made of natural ingredients, such as turmeric for yellow, beets for purple, and pomegranate and dried hibiscus flowers for red. Nowadays, synthetic colors are often used, some of which may contain toxic ingredients such as zinc, mercury, lead oxide, or copper sulphate .that can lead to skin allergies and inflammation, especially in short-haired breeds.
🐾Don’t use dry or wet colors: The use of dry colors on pets can be hazardous. The presence of lead, which acts as an accumulative poison, makes these colors a high-risk material for pets. Inhalation of color powder may cause nasal irritation or respiratory infection. Moreover, dogs get paranoid when colors are rubbed on them since it gets into their eyes and nose. They also tend to lick their body and very often this becomes the chief source of poisoning. Pets can get severe eye infections if they are hit by colored water balloons. Not only pets, but it’s also a human hazard, so you should put some natural oil in your hair to prevent the powder from sticking to your hair. You can even use a hat, bandana, or scarf to keep your hair covered. Likewise, we recommend you apply moisturizer on your skin before heading out to celebrate the festivals.