If the sign of a good festival is how messy you get, then Holi in northern India and Nepal must rate as one of the best. To welcome in spring the Festival of Colours falls around the March full moon and runs for 3 days. The festival finale is an all-in paint fight. This is supposed to last a day, but as Tania Paschen discovered, be prepared to be doused in all colours of the rainbow for a week…
“Blonde hair and red powder are never a good mix, and three days after Holi in Kathmandu my shampoo supplies had run dry and my hair was still an attractive pink hue.
The red was mixed with green and blue as well – in fact, after a few hours of water and powder being thrown it had all turned brown anyway and my theory about wearing a black T-shirt so it wouldn’t stain proved to be pointless.
There’s something about being foreign, and blonde, which brings out the naughtiness in Nepal’s children. Not willing to throw colour and water directly at my face, they hid behind corners and jumped out when I had already passed, ambushing me from behind and adding another layer of mess to my sodden exterior.
And it would rain from above too – off verandahs and out windows – a well coordinated army of kids yelling down the street to announce that I was coming and obviously needed more colour in my life. Nowhere was safe, and if the festival was only meant to be one day then someone forgot to tell the children, as they kept it up for a week and never seemed to run out of ammunition!”
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* photo by Roger Sandford – Intrepid Photography Competition