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Published: March 7th 2015
Holi, the Festival of Colors
So yesterday was Holi
the Hindu celebration of Spring, also known as the festival of colors. It marks the end of winter and beginning of spring according to the lunar calendar, as opposed to the vernal equinox, which happens on March 20th
and is observed in the western world.
Holi is celebrated by throwing colored powder at people or smearing it on their face and chest along with shooting squirt guns and throwing water balloons. Of course not all the kids can afford squirt guns so they improvise by taking an old 1 ½ or 2 liter soda bottle mixing the colored powder and water and poking a small hole in the top to spray the water. Everyone
is fair game on Holi day, it doesn't matter if you are male or female, young or old. If you don't want to get powdered you stay your butt at home, it's that simple. If you are dressed up in a business suit or the like then you get a dab of color on the cheeks and forehead. You would have to move
quickly and avoid crowds because the powder and water are flying around.
Traditionally you would wear a plain white t-shirt or a white t-shirt that said Happy Holi. I went looking for a shirt the night before just on the off chance I would get lucky and find one my size. Yeah, right. The largest size was a 46, and most shops only had a 42. But by looking at them even that 46 looked like maybe a medium and forget about it when it shrank. Pokhara is a tourist town with a large number of Germans who aren't exactly short, but then you have the Dutch who probably average 6'5' and that's including the women. In Holland if you are 6 foot you are considered short. So I thought they might have shirts in the shops to fit them but alas, no. I used one of my 2 t-shirts I have for working out (but mostly just gets used for sleeping).
I really wish I had one of my cameras with me. And by my cameras I mean one that shoots film, not some DSLR. Hey I'm a photographer, not some graphic artist.
But carrying film just isn't feasible on a long trip, something I learned on my last trip to South America. I would need to restock and develop the film every month, maybe 2 months top. I can't even get or develop film in my own hometown of Las Vegas, I have to buy and develop it LA or Santa Barbara, so I know there is no chance to process or get film in a developing country.
Having a camera would have been great, especially one of my Holgas where it wouldn't matter if it got wet or dirty. There were great shots just waiting to be taken. But I had to settle for my iPhone and stand on the outside of the crowd to take a few photos before putting it away and just jumping into the crowd. I just wasn’t willing to make the sacrifice for a good shot. One of my workhorse cameras, yes. But my iPhone, no, sorry.
I am surprised what with the amount of powder being flung and smeared, water guns, water balloons, and even buckets of water being launched from some balconies that something more didn't happen. There
is always that
guy who pushes things too far, or someone who is just too sensitive, but in over 6 hours I saw just one incident. Towards the end of the day the kid at the hotel where I am staying, Robin, he's 6 and I was helping him make some water balloons. A couple of the neighbor kids walked up with with water guns and set them down. Robin threw a water balloon at one of the boys and missed but one of the boys picks up a handful of gravel and throws it at him. I was like hey what are you doing, you have a water gun shoot him with that. The kid was 8 but still. It was the only questionable thing I saw all day.
But Holi Day, Nepal 2015, that is why we travelers travel. I have great memories, a soiled t-shirt, and an ear full of powder I just can't get completely clean.
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