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festivals in Nepal

Nepal the Land of Festivals:

Nepal is not only the land of mountains It is also the land of festivals. There are more than 50 festivals celebrated in Nepal every year. While the national festivals have fixed dates, religious festivals are set by astrologers following the lunar calendar. The best part about the festivals in Nepal is that all the events are celebrated with the same enthusiasm and galore the way it used to be hundreds of years ago when people had no other means of entertainment.

nepal festivals

Rich Traditions and Religions:

Religious practices are an important part of the lives of the Nepalese people. festivals in Nepal Mythologies of various Hindu gods and goddesses abound in this country and cultural values are based on the philosophies of holy books, this is important to all travelers in Nepal and to respect the nature and mountain spirit and its culture.festival in nepal shows you so many interesting things.

Dates as per Hindu / Buddhist Lunar calendar of auspicious occasion of following festivals and celebrations and worship day and seasons of following events:

The dates and month may differ every year from Nepali Luna calendar Bikram Sambath B.S. to common christens calendar A.D but in general these are the festivals in Nepal.

Jan 12:  Tol Lhosar of Tibetan Buddhism calendar this year 2015 Year of the Sheep celebrated among Gurung community throughout the country.

Feb 11: Sonam Lhosar:

of Tibetan Buddhism calendar this year 2015 Year of the Sheep celebrated among Tamang tribe community throughout the country.

Mar 10: Shiva Ratri

Lord Shiva is one of Nepal’s most popular gods. During Maha Shivaratri, his “Great Night”, followers throughout the Indian sub-continent crowd the Pashupati temple to worship him. Colorful Sadhus, the wanderings sages who emulate Shiva, rub ashes over thier bodies, give lectures to disciples, meditate, or practice yoga. Devotees pray to Shiva’s image inside the temple at midnight and may queue for upto six hours to look at the image. Bonfires are lit, neighbors and friends share food, and devotees enjoy two days and a night of music, song, and dance throughout Pashupatinath complex and in the streets.

There will be elaborate arrangements enabling sadhus and devotees to pay darshan to the Lord Pashupatinath during the Mahashivaratri. Makeshift shelters will be provided to visiting Sadhus and pilgrims from Nepal and India who are expected arrived at the Pashupatinath area. The routes leading to the temple have been barricaded in order to regulate the entry and exits to the temple. Medical camps will be set up and medical services will be available round the clock for the needy. Mahashivaratri, or the night of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, falls on Wednesday night. It is the biggest festival observed in Pashupatinath.

Feb 12:  Gyalbo Lhosar:

As per Tibetan Buddhism calendar this year 2015 Year of the Sheep celebrated among Tibetan / Sherpa community throughout the country.

March 26 & 27: Holi (Fagu Purnima) – Festival of colours:

Holi marks the end of the winter gloom and rejoices over the starting of the spring time. It is the best time and season to celebrate; People play with different colors.

April 10: Ghode Jatra:

Visitors are often amazed by the fine horses of the Nepalese army, and Ghode Jatra is a time for the most graceful of these animals to perform before the public eye. Legends relate that this “horse festival” was begun after the Kathmandu people buried a demon under the soil of Tundikhel showground’s. They say that he may rise again and cause worry to the world if he is not trampled on by horses each year. So every spring, this victory over evil is celebrated in the Valley by organizing palanquin processions and a grand display of show jumping, motorcycling feasts, and gymnastics.

April 14: Nepalese New Year day – 2071 Bikram Sambat:

Nepalese New Years day observed in a grand way. One of the great Bisket Jatra happens in Bhaktapur which is not to be missed.

Nepali New Year started from the time of king Sambrat during the golden era of civilization and proper organization of towns and cities of the country, which is 55 to 56 years ahead than christens calendar. However, tourism industry and related follow christens calendar, local schools and government run in Nepali Calendar.May 25, 2013: Buddha Jayanti:

The ever benevolent Buddha was born in Nepal, and the religion is preached is the second most popular in the Kingdom. On a full moon day, the Lord’s birth, enlighten, and salvation are applauded throughout the valley with celebrations. Swayambhunath and Bouddhanath Stupas are prepared for the oncoming festivities several days in advance. Monasteries are cleaned, statues are polished, bright prayer flags waft in the breeze, and monks prepare to dance. On the Jayanti day, people reach the stupas before down, go around them and give offering to the many Buddha images there. On the final day, in a nearby field, courtiers fire ancient muskets as a high lama shoots an arrow at a red demon effigy laid on a ragged tiger skin. He tosses five more demons into the sand to signify the exorcising of the city.

Sep 09: Teej – festival for women:

Teej is the fasting festival of women in Nepal. Married women observe Teej fast to honor Lord Shiva and for long and healthy life of their husband. Unmarried girls also observe fast on this day for a good husband. Teej celebrations last for three pious days. Traditional dances and songs form an important feature of Teej celebrations. Red color is considered auspicious for women observing Teej fast and so most of them dress up in red or bridal clothes.

September 18: Indra Jatra:

A weeklong festival begins by hoisting Lord Indri’s flag (Indradhoj) at midnight and faces of Bhairava’s deities are displayed in important public places. Indra King of heaven and controller of the rains have once again blessed the Valley. As the end of the monsoon nears, farmers look forward to a rich harvest, everyone is grateful to the devas for his help. For eight days, Kathmandu’s Durbar Square is the focus of a great celebration fit to “flatter the King of Heaven”. Indra’s dhwaj, or flag, is erected on the first day. It is said that many centuries ago, Indra’s mother needed specially-scented flowers but could not find them in heaven’s gardens. Indra discovered parijat (gladiolus) flowers in the Kathmandu Valley and tried to steal them for his mother. He was caught and imprisoned by the Valley people. When Indra’s mother came searching for him the people were appalled by what they had done. They released Indra and dedicated one of the most colorful festivals of Nepal to him to appease his anger. Masks and statues representing Vishnu, Bhairab, and Shiva are shown to the public, and the Goddess Kumari witnesses the special occasion from her chariot. Indra is thanked for the rains and assured once again that he is respected in the Kathmandu Valley.

Dasain:

Dasain is the biggest and longest favorite festival of Nepal. Everyone stays home with their families, all offices and schools are closed. The skies of Kathmandu are filled with Kites and the marketplaces are filled with farmers bringing their goats, buffaloes, ducks and Chickens to sell. The animals are to be sacrificed on the night of ‘Kal Ratri’ to goddess Durga to celebrate her victory over evil. On the day of Dasami, everyone puts on new clothes and goes to honor their family elders, where they received large red ‘Tika’ of vermilion paste on their foreheads. In the following days of Dasain, families and friends unite, feasts are consumed, blessing is imparted and gifts are exchanged. Nepal’s most beloved festival ends with the full moon.

Ghatasthapana:

Beginning of the greatest festival ‘Dasain’, lasts for nine days. Sowing of maize and barely called Jamara in local language.

Phulpati:

Real festival becomes visible. Brahmins go to Gorkha Durbar and bring flowers, etc. from the shrine there and it then placed in Pooja room of Hanuman Dhoka. His Majesty and other members of the Royal family witness the Army parade and accept the Guard of Honor.

Durga Puja (Maha Astami)– mass animal Sacrificing day:

Eight day of the festival known as ‘Kalratri’. Animals (goats, buffaloes and ducks and chickens) sacrificed in the temples of Goddess Durga and also at homes. Offering of sacrifices continue on the ninth day too.

Mahanavami:

Period of Dashain festival and preparation for big event.

Vijaya Dasami (Tika):

Elders and seniors in each Hindu house mark the foreheads of juniors with ‘Tika’ or red colour mark. Respectable relatives are visited. Feasts are held, full of festivities.

Tihar (festival of lights):

This is second big festival of Hindus in Nepal. It is also known as festival of lights, is a time of candlelight, tinsel decorations and festive colored sweets. On different days, there are offerings and small celebrations for crows, dogs, cows and oxen. On the night of Laxmi Puja, garlands are hung and lamps are lighted to invite Laxmi, the goddess of wealth into the home and offices. Maha Puja, the New Year’s Day according to the Nepal Era, is the day of the self, when people gives themselves blessing to remain healthy and happy for the rest of the year. Bhai Tika, the last day of Tihar, is the day when sisters make offerings to their brothers. The ritual of breaking wall nuts, putting on garlands of makhamali flowers and encircling brothers in rings of mustard oil protect them from Yama, lord of the Netherworld. The first day of the festival people worship ‘crows’ and on the second day ‘dog’ is worshipped in the morning and is given good food to eat.

Laxmi Puja:

Festival of Lights- Worship of Goddess of Wealth celebrate with great pomp and grandeur in all over the Kingdom of Nepal.

Gai Puja (Gobardhan Puja):

Hindus worship cows and regard this animal as mother.

Bhai Tika:

Last day of the ‘Tihar’, sisters mark their brothers’ forehead with Tika ,garland, sweets and pray for their long life and prosperity.

Mani Rimdu in Tengboche, Mani Rimdu in  Chiwong Monastery – Khumbu & Everest region:

This is a Sherpa festival celebrated during the fall at Tengboche Monastery in the Everest region. For 5 days, Lamas and Sherpas gather for “the good of the world”. There are plays, masked dances, prayers, and feastings. Demons are quelled and the pious rewarded. The days are colorful and trips to the Everest region are very rewarding.

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