The Colors of Spring: Agency and Multisensorial Celebration of Holi in Barwa, Nepal

Suyash Kumar Neupane (Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology)

The festival of Holi – also called Phagu – is considered to be the harbinger of spring in parts of Nepal. This presentation describes the festival of Holi as celebrated in Barwa, a village in southern Nepal where the majority of people follow Bhojpuri culture. While Holi is largely celebrated as a “festival of colors”, I discuss foodways and musical practices that add essential intercaste dynamics to the festivities within this village. Additionally, while government approved calendars mark the celebration of this festival in the hills and the terai-plains on different days, I discuss how and why the people in Barwa celebrated this festival this year on a day of their own choice and not marked on the government mandated dates. This presentation aims to embrace the poetics and performance of autoethnography as a means of processing past memories and recent ethnographic experiences that continue to shape the presenter’s understanding of this festival, the terai-plains, and its peoples.

Part of 05-08 Foodways and the Negotiation of Roots, Rootlessness, and Uprooting, Friday, November 03, 10:30 am–12:30 pm