In Southern Nepal, the festival of colours begins with the burning of samat on the eve of Fagu Purnima. Samat consists of five different types of grains, and the burning is called holika dahan. Holika is a Hindu mythical character who personifies evil. Her burning symbolizes the victory of truth.
In Birgunj, women prepare the mound of samat during the day. As evening arrives, women and men start singing traditional songs. While the women sing gentle, devotional songs describing gods playing Holi, the men sing loud, boisterous and often romantic songs. Then, men sing and dance their way to the mounds of samat in every neighbourhood, and end the celebrations by burning the samat. Holi then begins by applying colours on each other.