Nepal Festivals

Our Festivals & Culture

People often say Nepal has more festivals than the number of days in a year. Festivals are always a meaningful and memorable event in the life of Nepalese people. Every festival has some principle to celebrate. From bringing in the rain to honoring the dead or averting calamities, every festival has something spiritual aspect about it. Festival is a way of life in Nepal. With the number of festivals that Nepal has, it is one of the best ways to understand and appreciate the Nepalese society. The dates of festivals are according to the lunar calendar. So the date of festivals varies from year to year.

Some of the major festivals of Nepal are

Dashain: October / November

Dashain is the biggest and the most important festival of the country, which is widely celebrated all over Nepal. Generally Dashain falls in late September to mid October, right after the monsoon season in Nepal. Dashain gets many different nick names like Dasara, Bada Dashain, Vijaya Dashain, Durga Puja etc.; which mean the days of Victory over Demons by god Durga and Rama. During the days of Dashain hugh number of different animals sacrifices took place in Durga Temples. The final day of the festival is known as Vijay Dashmi “Tika” a day on which the elder ones give `Tika' to the younger ones and to other relatives who come for their blessings.

Mani Rimdu: October-November

It is a five days festival celebrated by the Sherpa in the Everest region. The celebration consists songs, masked dances and prayers. The gathering is for "the good of the world". Trips to the Everest during this festive season are very rewarding.

Sweta Machhendranath Snan: January

The Sweta (white) Machhendranath has a week long festival in which he is bathed, oiled and painted. The goddess Kumari visits him at this elaborate temple near Asan Tol. This god is pleased by music, offerings and attentions to hope for a rainfall in the planting season.

Basanta Panchami or Saraswati Puja: January

The Goddess of education, Saraswati is worshiped through the country. Students join with teachers others for puja in their school; others visit the temples and religious sites.

Maha Shivaratri: February

Maha Shivaratri is belongs to the great worship of God Shiva. The Pashupati temple, in other words, the Lord Shiva's temple is remains packed with devotees for 2 to 3 days before the festival. On the day, one will find almost impossible to visit the Pashupati temple which remains jammed literally! The day is observed by visiting Pashupati temple, drinking and dancing. Sadhus - the replica of Lord Shiva enjoy the day by smoking cigars and sweets.

Fagu Purnima or Holi (The festival of color): March

Call it ugly or awesome; this is the festival of colors. If you are new to this festival, you will like it more!! Hide your clothes when walking on the streets! what? The festival is of just a single day but the fever starts 7 days ahead. It’s all about splashing others with water and color. Color powder is often mixed with water and is filled in balloons which are then thrown at anyone for a good splash. Youth enjoy the final day of the festival as portraying one's chests and face fully covered or painted with different colors.

Ghode Jatra: April

A great Jatra (gatherings) takes place to please the demon that is believed to be buried under the soil of Tundikhel. The jatra is purely a stunt of show-jumping, motor cycling, horse riding, gymnastics and sky diving all performed by the Nepalese Army.

Mata Tirtha Aaunsi (Mother’s day): April

This day is celebrated in the memory of own mother. The people whose mother has passes away, perform ‘Shradha’ (worshipping to the late soul), and who has mother alive feed nice meal and presented some other valuable gifts, wishing her long life and happiness. This festival is a symbol of love and affection between mother and their child.

Naga Panchami: August

A festival devoted to the snake gods, who most Nepalese believe and according to the religious books ruled the valley before the coming of people.

Janai Purnima and Raksha Bandhan: August

Its a time for Hindu and Buddhist to change a sacred thread (Janai) which is tied on the neck sliding from the right to left hands, and it is also the time to tie Raksha, a red or yellow thread (believed to have the power to protect) around wrists.

Teej: September

A festival purely for women to perform puja, workshop lord Shiva, and go into fasting for a day to ask for husband's long time and strong bond of love. Women wear red saris, sing and dance in Pashupati temple or anywhere in the junctions. The blessings of Shiva and the Lord's wife, Goddess Parbati ensure that family life strengthens and is joyous.

Krishna Asthami: September

Celebrating the birth of the Hindu god Krishna, one of the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Tihar: November / December

The Nepali festival Tihar is also known as Dipawali or Bhai Tika or Laxmi Puja. This is famous as a festival of lights among the westerns. It is a five-days festival, which comes just less than three weeks follows Dashain Festival. Tihar is all about worshiping of different animals such as Crow, Dog, Dow, and worshiping of the Hindu Goddess of Fortune or Wealth (Goddess Laxmi), and cooking great meals at home, brothers and sisters shopping for gifts, flying kites, decorating homes and streets. The last day of the festival is known as Tika day or popularly known as Bhai Tika day (Bhai in Nepali means Brother). To sum up Tihar festival, Tihar is the festival when sisters wish a long life, happiness and wealthy to their brothers (Bhai)!

Bibah Panchami: December

This is the festival that observes the marriage of Lord Ram and Sita. Festival lasts for up to 7 days, during which enactment of the marriage ceremony of Ram and Sita are performed in stage in villages, towns and city areas. Ram, the hero and Sita are the heroine of Ramayan, the most popular Hindu epic

Maghe Sankranti: January

This festival is celebrated to worship the god Vishnu who is thanked for his efforts in making the days longer and warmer from the Magh month of the Nepali Calendar. Devotees take bath in holy rivers, eat pulaow (rice cooked with lentils, dried fruits and peas). This festival is observed on the first day of Magh Month.

Swasthani Brat: January – February

The goddess Swasthani regarded as the ultimate gift grantor is worshiped on this festival. According to the legend, Parbati got Lord Shiva as her husband only after worshiping Swasthani. In every home

Losar: February

The festival of Sherpas and Tibetan who welcome the near year by celebrating this festival in which one can see feats, family visits, songs and dance in monasteries and colorful prayer flags decorating streets and rooftops.

Ram Nawami: April

Ram Nawami celebrated to observe the Lord Ram's victory over Rawan. Devotees visit the RAM and Durga temples to perform Puja.

Bisket Jatra: April

Communities at Bhaktapur and its surroundings replay a drama passed on generations to another. The drama is about sacrifices and pleasing goods.

Rato Machhendranath Jatra: May

Rato (Red) Macchindranath is a rain god. In ancient times, the Kathmandu valley was a land of agriculture. This festival of gatherings (jatra) is dedicated to the God for hope for rains during the monsoon season.

Buddha Jayanti: May

Lumbini, a piece of land is truly a gifted land by nature. It is where the lord Buddha was born. On a full moon day, the may 6th, the Lord's birth, enlightenment and salvation are celebrated through the Nepal. Swayambhu and Boudhanath Stupas receive huge visitors during this festival. Stupas are Buddhist monuments traditionally containing relic(s) of the Lord Buddha

Gunla: July – August

The time when monsoon has arrived and the rice have been planted; it is time for Buddhist to observe this festival. This is an ancient festival initiated 25 century ago by the Buddha. During this one month festival, prayers, fasting and medications and religious music takes its turn.

Gai Jatra: August

To most Nepalese, it is like April fools day. This festive season is also a time to remember your lost ones and also to ease the pain. The word Gai means cow in English. Cow is the goddess of wealth and is regarded as the souls of the departed to the gates of the netherworld. Sharing of sorrow and to taking the comfort in knowing that their lost ones are safe is the true reason of celebrating this festival.Satire, jokes and cartoons are published on newspapers and magazines. These such jokes are mostly describing the political situation of the country for the last year. Press and media feel like writing just about anything on this day, for its a jokes day!

Gokarna Aaunsi (Father’s Day): September

In the memory of Father the people of Nepal mark this very day in a grand manner.

Indra Jatra: September

Right after the monsoon, this festival is celebrated to thank the gods for giving enough rains to the Kathmandu valley. A great celebration and jatra takes place in the Kathmandu durbar square.

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