The term “Songkran Festival” comes from Thai language – the water-festival of Thailand where it is being celebrated by splashing water on one another which is basically a gesture of sharing love and happiness. This festival is similar to a Hindu festival which we call “Holi”.
In fact, the essence of both of these festivals are basically the same – sharing love and happiness and to show a sign of closeness and affection and to wish well for each other. The only difference between these two festivals is that we Hindus celebrate it with colored water while Songkran festival is being celebrated with plain water. The another stark similarities between these two festivals is that they are being celebrated with the advent of spring season in both countries.
This time “Holi” has been largely peaceful in Kathmandu with just 35 arrests being made by police – unlike yesteryear when there were approximately 660 arrests being made following untoward events such as traffic accident because of drunken-driving, pelting hard water-balloons targeting female which had lead to serious injuries earlier.
Thanks to Metropolitan Police Department that has somehow managed to bring this harrowing situation under control. It has come as a sigh of relief to most who have to travel during the festival day as well. The stricter measures has brought denizens of Kathmandu to feel safe and secure and have been able to go on with their work even on the festival day.
In another way, however, these kind of stricter measures are damping our way of celebrating festival in more humanly and traditional manner. After biking across Kathmandu this morning I experienced that we are loosing the charm and vigor of this great festival as we are basically being confined to our rooms, apartments and our homes. In another sense, this wonderful colorful day has largely been observed as a black-and-white day while people are confined in their homes munching items of meat. Even I have toothache today, and I don’t know how long is it going to last!!
Since the festival is being celebrated in two successive days depending on the regions of Nepal, the terai belt (of course including my hometown) of Nepal is going to pick this color tomorrow. And, I am already missing it this time as well.
For me, the festival was just so-so as I was also the one who was confined in my room with just my computer and internet as my companion. It has been almost 10 years now since I left my home for my higher education, and since then I have not yet been able to manage to go back to my home and celebrate with my family.
But, as the saying goes: “There is always the next time”, I am quite optimistic for next year. Hope next year is going to bring some colors to my life.
Happy Holi to you guys (friends in Nepal, India and elsewhere in abroad) and happy belated Songkran festival to my friends in Thailand.