Festivals in Nepal
Major Religious Festivals in Nepal
A. Nayavarsha (New Year’s )
The Nepalese New Year is falls on the first day of Bhaishak, which is assumed as an official holiday throughout the country. People love to gather and celebrate along with their families, relatives, and friends & mostly they organize the picnic or tour.
B) Bisket Jatra:The festival of celebration of two most substantial deities of the Bhaktapur
i.e. Bhairab( God of the wrathful) & Bhadrakali( Goddess). Generally, it takes place in the month of April on the 1st day and it is the New Year according to the Nepali Calendar (Bikram sambat). The Bisket Jatra is taken from the Newari word Bi and Syaku i.e. snake laughter. This festival is to devastate of iniquity through crash of chariots by symbolizing cleanup of marriage and this festival.
C) . Buddha Jayanti -
It is the birth anniversary of the Lord Gautam Buddha (Siddhartha Gautam) & known as the festival of the full moon. Buddha is an “Awakened” i.e enlighten and serenity. Siddhartha Gautam was born in Lumbini Nepal and this festival is granted as an official holiday.
2. Shrawan (July / Aug)
A. Nag Panchami - Serpent God
The priest on the door of the house posts a serpent God’s drawing or image. This festival also embodies the beginning of raining season and beginning of all other Festivals.
B. Gai jatra (Cow Festival)
: one of the consequential events of all those families, who had lost their loved one. All those family must participate in a cortege through the streets of the kathamndu. During this moment, it is brimmed with songs and jokes. Especially the Newari community of the Kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur and Patan areas observes it. Generally, it falls in the month of Bhadra & that concur to English calendar month of August-September.
C. Rakchhya / Raksha Bandhan (Janai Purnima)- (Sacred Threads).
It is the festival of swap of the frightened threads. During this occasion, especially yellow thread is used and it believed that is to be a holy i.e. wrappers on the wrist of everybody by the priest & Gosaikunda is taken as the holy lake bath. Main dish during the Janai Purnima is seeds soups of 10-12 types of the bean seeds mixed and boiled it.
D. Krishna Asthami – Lord Festival
Krishna is the gods of Hindu religion. Priest reads the stories of Krishna & people get paintings demonstrate the reputed events of Krishna’s life. Normally, People gather in Krishna Mandir (Temple).
3. Bhadra (Augu / Sept)
A. Teej and Rishi Panchami (Women’s Day)
The festival of women of Hindu society’s that falls on Bhadra shukla tritiya which is also known as Haritalika . Festival of the religious, cultural and socio-cultural festival of Nepal, during this festival married woman visit their parent’s home and celebrate with their family members. During this festival married women take, full days fast for their husband’s wellbeing where as unmarried girl also take the fast to get good spouse. During the eve of the Teej all the women eat ‘Dar’ (special meal i.e. prepared on Teej) with their own family members. Interestingly, this is day of the women & mostly women will be in ‘Red’ ( saree or kurta) dancing and singing with folk music on the street and going to the temple in holy and fasting mood are the main highlight of this festival.
B. Full moon - Indra Jatra.
: According to the Hindu, religion Lord of the Rain or the king of the Heaven is lord “Indra”. Therefore, it is the celebration day of the Lord Indra’s Day. In the honor of Lord Bahirab , thanking day of the Indra. On the lofty wooden, post that is elevated ahead the King’s place and dancers with mask perform the cultural dance. On this festival one of the living god’s of Nepal “Kumari” through on a special wagon is constructed for purpose. The wagon or chariots are parked outside the living God Kumari at Kathmandu Durbar Square.
4. Aswin (sep. / Oct.)A. Dashain (The Biggest Festival) :
The festival of union in the family, extreme delight and of great joy which is celebrates all over the world by Hinduism community .It is also known as the Bada ‘’Dashain’’. Which is falls in the month of September or early October. It is celebrated for 15 days from the day of Ashwin Shukla Pratipada i.e., Ghatasthapana till Purnima,Goddess Durga is worshipped on the occasion. It is believed that Dashain is celebrated to mark the victory of goddess Durga or the victory over evil and truth over falsehood. It is the longest festivals during this festival people love to buy new clothes eat delicious foods. The elder members of the family put tika, Jamara, and blessing to the younger members on the day of victory i.e Vijaya Dashami
5. Kartik (Sep. / Oct.)
A. Tihar - Festival of Light: it is the second biggest festival of Nepali after the Dashain . The festival of light which is observed for 5 days. Where Kag(crows) is symbolize as the sadness and grief in Hinduism, kukur Tihar ( dog’s) is take as the messenger of the death god lord Yamaraj. During this, festival people offer delicious food to dogs and do their worship to build the relationship between with human. Moreover, the third day is Gai Tihar or Laxmi Puja, cow is signifies prosperity and wealth. So in the morning cows are worshipped and goddess Laximi at the evening. She is goddess of the wealth. In this day people clean their home and decorated with flowers and illumine them all night by putting candles ,oil lamps ,colorful electric bulbs etc. people enjoy this festival by playing Bhailo at their neighbors’ houses during the night time.where they sing and dance at Tihar song. The Gobardhan puja is it observe as Goru Puja (worship of oxen), cow’s dung is taken as representative of the mountain and worshiped. final day of the Tihar is called Bhai Tika & known as the festival between brothers and sisters. On this day all the sisters worship their brothers and wish for wellness long life by putting colorful tika on forehead of their brothers. In addition, it is also believe that the day Yamaraj announced that anyone who receives tika from his sister never die on this day.
It is another great festival of the Hindus of central Terai(Maithili people).It is the festival of Sun God (Surya), both man and women celebrate this festival . However, women observe fast during the day for three days, abstain from drinking water, standing in the river or lakes to offer prashad (prayer offerings) and arghya to the sun. The sun is taken as the God of energy and life of the source is worship for the prosperity, well-beings. Also in Hinduism, it is believe that it helps to cure different disease, prosperity and longevity of family members and their kids.
6.Magh (Jan. / Feb.) Maghe Sankrati:Celebrated on the first day of the month (Magh). The sun goes to north course. It marks the whirling point between winter and summer. People take holy bath and offer poor, worship and chant (Bhajan). Black sesame cakes mixed with molasses and flat rice, ghee and yam. This food has special religious significance for the day.
7. Falgun (Feb. / March)
A. Mahashibaratri It is popularly known as the festival of ‘’Maha Shivaratri’’. It is the most important festival, all the people who are from Hindu religions or community. It is celebrate in nobility of lord Shiva (God of Destruction) and large number of Hindu follower all over the world goes to Shiva temple to worship. As well as the thousand of devotees attends to celebrate this holy night. People celebrate this festival by offering Bael leaves to the Lord Shiva by taking fast at whole day.
B. Holi (Festival of Color)
: the festival of color, love and joy famous around the world. Except Nepal, it is celebrate in India, Bhutan and Shrilanka too. Generally, it falls in month of Falgun in Nepali calendar. It is also known as Phagu in Nepal, which signifies the victory of good over the evil, play and laugh, repair broken relationship or forget and forgive etc. Throughout the day people gather and splash the color with water to each other. Full of color, music and dance is performed during the Holi.
8.Chaitra (March / April)
A. Chaitra Dashain
Chaitra Dashain is celebrated to the Goddess Dugra by sacrificing goats and buffalos in various temples as well as in Kot and Taleju Bhawani Temple. Lugging huge elongated chariot on which Machhindranath is placed around four days in Kathmandu.
B. Red Machhindranath Jatra
Machhindranath Jatra is an amazing chariot festival in Patan (Kathmandu valley). A very big and tall-decorated chariot with Shri Machhindranath is lugged around the jeweled jacket of shri Machhindranath will be displayed to public.
9 ) Loshar
: it is the festival of Buddhists community. Where Lo means Year and Shar means New thus it is new year festival for the Buddhism. It is celebrated man
y cultural group especially from Himalayan tribe of Nepal like Sherpa, Gurung and Tamang . They celebrate Loshar according to their own community’s calendar. Where the sherpas have Gyalpo Loshar, the Tamang celebrate Sonam Loshar and the Gurung observe Tamu Loshar. It is the festival of feast, dance and joy and they wear their own cultural costumes, visit their elders and seek their blessing for a prosperity & wellness.
10) Swaraswati Puja(worship): Shree Panchami, this is the festival celebrate to worship goddess of learning , wisdom , fine arts and knowledge Swaraswati. During this day mostly students worship books to please goddess for her blessing .it is generally falls on month of Bhadra of Nepali calendar & august and September of English calendar