Fagu Purnima or Holi is a festival of colour, celebrated with rejoice in Nepal. This festival is also a farewell of winter and welcoming of summer in Southern Asia. Fagu Purnima is celebrated in full moon day in Phalgun. That is why, the celebration is called Fagu Purnima. It is also called as Dhuli in Sanskrit.
There is a tradition of erecting a long bamboo stick (lingo) covered with pieces of different colour cloths (Chir) in Bashantapur Durbar square, Kathmandu. In the eve of Fagu Purnima, the lingo is taken down and the Chir is burnt. The event is called Chir Haran or Holika Dahan. Then begins Fagu Purnima.
Fagu Purnima is celebrated with colours, water, sweets and music. People put colour on each other as a token of love and go to houses of relatives and friends in group. The whole day they celebrate by eating sweets, playing music, dance and putting colours on each other. People in Terai celebrate Fagu Purnima the next day from Kathmandu Valley.
Actually, there was a tradition of bringing Fagu Purnima from places to places, so different places could have different dates for Fagu Purnima celebration in olden days. In some parts of India, this still holds true. Now, there is only a two day celebration in Nepal.
People used to make Pichkari (water guns) out of bamboo. And throw coloured water on each other. Now-a-days balloons and plastic water guns (pichkari) are used. The balloon filled with water is called Lola in Nepali. Kids start throwing lolas on each other from week ahead of main Fagu Purnima days. People drink bhang and go crazy and they sing and dance around the burning fire. The burning of the wood log in village and town avenues are very important part of Fagu Purnima celebration. This event is called Holika Dahan, the end of Holika.
There will be a mythical story behind every celebration. Likewise, the Fagu Purnima also holds some mythical background.
Lord Krishna was repeatedly complaining his mother Yasodha that all his girl friends were teasing him saying Black One (Kale). And ask her, “why was he dark when his all of his girl-friends (Gopinis including Radha) were fair?”
Yashodha gave Krishna different colors and asked him to throw it on Gopinis’ faces so they would look dark too. Krishna took colors and threw it on Gopinis. Gopinies were in love with Krishna so they loved color game and enjoyed it. From that time Fagu Purnima has been celebrated.
Krishna and Draupadi
It is said Fagu Purnima is celebrate to remember the love of Krishna to Draupadi when he protected her when the Kaurav did her Chir Haran. Kauravas were pulling her Sari while Lord Krihna made the sari endless and saved her chastity. This day is celebrated as Fagu Purnima.
Dhundi and boys
Once in the kingdom of Prithu, a horrible ogress named Dhundhi started giving trouble to children. She was blessed by Lord Shiva that she would not be killed by gods, men, not hurt by any weapon not affected by heat, cold, snow or rain. These boons made her almost invincible. However, due to a curse of Lord Shiva, she was not so immune to the pranks and abuses of young boys. The king Raghu was able to arrange some young boys and ask them to do something that should annoyed that ogress should leave the kingdom forever. The boys on the day of Fagun Purnima collected woods put fire on it. They started dancing and speaking crazy. They got little intoxicated on bhang and chased Dhundi to the boarder of the kingdom by beating drums, making loud noise, shouting obscenities and hurling insults at her and continued doing this until she left the place for ever. It is said the same tradition is continued and people take some bhang in this day, burn fire and dance, play drums and jokes around.
Fagu Purnima is an official holiday in Nepal. Offices are closed on Fagun Purnima days in hilly reason to celebrate Holi and the very next day, Terai is off for the celebration.