Nepal is a varied country with a varying landscape, rich bio-diversity and varied culture of the people residing in it. It’s impossible to mention all of the festivals celebrated in Nepal, but we’ve tried to incorporate the popular festivals celebrated by the majority of individuals.
Each community holds their specific cultures and traditions that they’ve been after for centuries. Each of these has its own set of beliefs and festivals to celebrate in Nepal.
In another word, Every day is a day of celebration for the other community. The best aspect of all is one’s pride in your own culture and respect for others.
This is the reason these several festivals and cultures are harmoniously coexisting in Nepal.
Some Festivals of Nepal
Lhosar (or Losar) means ‘New year’. Buddhists celebrate this festival. Individuals from different parts of Nepal. Various communities celebrate Lhosar at various times of the year.
Because of this, there are 3 Lhosar festivals- Tamu Lhosar, Sonam Lhosar, and Gyalbo Lhosar. Gurung celebrates Tamu Lhosar. Tamang celebrates Sonam Lhosar. Similarly, Sherpa celebrates Gyalbo Lhosar.
On this special day, Buddhists read prayers, decorating homes and monasteries, offer special foods to various deities and other ethnic proceedings.
Chhath Parva is the largest festival in the Terai region. The festival is celebrated to worshiping Sun God.
The worshipers fast during the day for the longevity and prosperity of their relatives and worship the setting Sun. Devotees sum up the festival by providing water into the rising sun the next morning following day-long fast.
Other rituals observed during this festival are sacred bathing, Diving in water for quite a long time, offering foods to the Sun God, etc.
Fagu Purnima or Holi
Fagu Purnima or Holi is known as the festival of colors and falls between February/ March. It is celebrated with water and colors. It is the famous festival of Nepal.
This might be the reason for splashing each other with water. Hilly Area of the nation celebrates the Festival on the day of the full moon while the Terai region celebrates it the following day.
Tiji Festival Trek
May may be the best time to go trekking in the Upper Mustang that was closed to foreigners until 1992. Isolated from the world for millennia, perhaps one of the last completely untouched examples of Tibetan culture and known as “The Last Forbidden Kingdom.” At the end of the dry season, an ancient, three-day festival held every year in Lo Manthang’s walled town. This tells the story of Dorje Jono, the deity who had to battle his father to save Mustang’s Kingdom from destruction. Dorje’s father created a shortage of water which caused havoc in the area. In addition, Tiji Festival Trek is the chance to see the glorious festival of upper mustang celebrated in Mustang Lo Manthang.
Dashain festival in Nepal is the biggest festival among all the festivals. More than 60% of people celebrate this festival. It is celebrated to win against evil.
The festival is celebrated for 15 days. Ghatasthapana, the first day of Dashain marks the start of this festival. Families worship the Ashta-Matrikas (the 8 Tantrik Goddesses) and the nine avatars of Durga (the 9 Goddess Durgas) for the remaining fourteen days. Similarly, On the tenth day, individuals receive Tika and Jamara and blessings from the elders and this lasts for another five days.
Tihar is a five-day-long festival which takes place 15 days after Dashain celebrations. On the first-day worship crows. On the second-day worship dogs. Similarly, on the next day, people worship cows in the morning.
While Dipawali (Lighting) is observed in the day by Worshipping the goddess of wealth- Laxmi and light candles in the home. While Oxen is worshipped on the fourth day and Govardhan Pooja is conducted throughout the evening.
Newar community, however, celebrates New Year and plays Mha Puja on the fourth day. Therefore, the final day of Tihar is Bhai Tika (Brother’s Day). On this auspicious day, sisters place Tika on their brother’s forehead to want them well being and great health.
Mha Puja is celebrated from the Newar community on the fourth day of the Tihar. This day is New Year based on Nepal Sambhar.
Family members sit in a row on the ground with mandalas (sand painting of a sacred circular diagram) drawn in front of them. Then they follow different rituals and light the mandala to purify and thank the body they live in.
Mostly ladies celebrate Teej. Up to 3 days celebrated. On the first day, married women fast for the longevity and prosperity of the husband and unmarried girls fast hoping to get a fantastic husband. And the other 2 days worship Lord Shiva.
A woman celebrated by Dancing and Singing. Women dress in red Saris and wear unique ornaments. And, they gather together to sing and dance about womanhood. They see their relatives and enjoy several sweets before and after the fast.
Buddha Jayanti is the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha- the light of Asia. He was born in 563 BC in Kapilvastu, Lumbini. Therefore, it’s an auspicious day, not only for the Buddhists but also for the other people in the nation. It is the biggest festival for Buddhists in Nepal.
Folks visit Swayambhunath, Boudhanath, Lumbini and other stupas and monasteries during the day. The beautifully colored butter lamps create these sacred sites appear more magical in the day.
One may detect parade or large parties where monks, nuns, And followers read prayers and inform life or moral story of Lord Buddha. Folks do Dana Dharma to demonstrate generosity by helping others.
Nepal is full of festivals with cultural and traditional practices. The country Observes many different festivals such as Eid, Christmas, Gathe Mangal, Sivaratri, Krishnasthami, etc.. Kathmandu valley itself observes numerous Jatras (festivals) such as Ghode Jatra, Photo Jatra, and many others.
Jatras are usually long processions from 1 part of town to the other carrying a variety of deities in chariots called ‘raths’ with mascots in line with the subject of the Jatra. Jatras celebrated in the valley.
Bisket Jatra falls on the first month of the Nepalese calendar. Bhaktapur celebrates this Jatra. It is the biggest Nepali festival.
The myth behind the festival is that there was a princess whose husbands kept dying on the wedding bed. This was problematic for the royal household. Then came along a prince, blessed by the Goddess, who discovered that a pair of serpents crawl from the sleeping princess. He killed them and the princess eventually remained married.
During this festival, chariots of Lord Bhairav and Goddess Bhadrakali are carried to cities. In Lyasinkhel, a tall pole with two embroidered clothing, representing the serpents and erected. In another word, known as Bissau Jatra. the meaning slaying of the serpents. Celebrate as a New Year.
Ghode Jatra (the horse parade), celebrated during Chaitra (March- April), is just another festival of Nepal that combines all the people at Tundikhel. On this day there will be Public Holiday.
Though there is no spiritual background for the parade. Newars in the valley involve parties at this festival.
Nepalese army performs various parades, athletics, acrobats. Numerous high ranking officials of the nation to attend.
Bhadrakali, Kankeswari, and Bhairav worshipped during the festival.
Gai Jatra is a Nepali version of Halloween. A range of publications, TV shows, and theater plays show funny plots.
The Historical origin of this festival, according to proof, is that following the death of his son, King Pratap Malla was concerned about his grief-stricken queen. So, he declared that every family who had lost a member would join a procession to showcase the pics or symbols of deceased relatives in the kind of Cows.
They make funny jokes and faces so that individuals would forget the despair of losing their nearest and dearest.
Rato Machhindranath Jatra
Rato Machhindranath Jatra is among the most significant festivals of Nepal in Patan. The festival is initiated by a Paaneju priest putting the idol of Rato Machindranath within the chariot. A chariot is built with wood and bamboo. Hindus and Buddhists worshipped in the valley.
Rato Machhindranath worshipped as Padmapani Lokeshwor, Avalokiteshvara and Aryavalokitesvara, and Karunamaya. It still worshipped to welcome the rainy season. This is the Celebrations in Nepal.
This festival celebrates to honor Lord Indra. The God of rain. It celebrates for 8 days, largely in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. King Gunakamdev after setting the town of Kathmandu from the 10th century.
The history behind the festival says when Lord Indra was Fetching from Kathmandu for his mother. Natives captured him and held captive. As soon as they realized they’d seized Lord Indra, they immediately released him. Indra’s mother blessed the town for releasing her son.
The different parts of the procession will be the reenactment of this narrative like Dagin (Indra’s mother frantically looking for her son around town ) and Pulu Kisi (a dance depicting Indra’s elephant frantically moving
around town searching for the master).
The procession route in the early areas of the city includes individuals light candles and incense as an homage for their deceased relatives.
Various Bhairavs (Sweta Bhairav, Akash Bhairav, and Baka Bhairav), Indraraj and Dashavatar are exhibited throughout the festival while Pulu Kisi (elephant dancing ), Majipa Lakhey, Sawa Bhakku, Devi Pykhan, Mahakali
Python is the variety of dance forms performed during Indra Jatra.
Every little gesture has a deep meaning behind it. Explore all this is extremely intriguing, but to mention them all in one article is hopeless.
Check out our other posts to know more about the festivals celebrated in Nepal 2020.