This ancient Hindu celebration is also known as the Festival of Colours and is becoming increasingly popular all over the world as a kind of secular festival celebrating community, life and colour. Holi has always been at least partly a spring festival, celebrating the end of winter and the fertility of the earth, but although Holi deserves its reputation as a fun, party festival it is an important religious day in Nepal, where 80 percent of the local population is Hindu. In fact, it is one of Nepal's most important and most popular festivals and is a national holiday often celebrated communally even by the Muslim and Christian minorities (although some Christians may opt out as it is during Lent). Holi is celebrated traditionally with bonfires and big, friendly water and paint fights using water balloons and powdered paint. It is a jubilant, life-affirming festival and its popularity is evident in its adoption by non-Hindu cultures that appreciate the symbolism. Holi is a special time to be in Nepal and foreigners will usually be enthusiastically welcomed into the festivities - in fact, it is really difficult to stay dry and normal-coloured if you leave your hotel! Tourists should be careful with cameras because although the visuals are splendid technology doesn't do so well with water and paint.
Venue: Various throughout the country
Date: 17 March 2014