Patan Festival

Festivals in Nepal are the center of attraction for thousands of visitors. Nepal is popularly known as the land of festivals. For Nepalese, our festivals are pride and a way to represent who we are. Even if you are not visiting Nepal for any festival or event you might encounter one or the other way back to your hometown.

You might be amazed at the country’s colorful energetic ways of celebrating. This might leave you some memories to share with your colleagues or close ones. Festivals in Nepal are the source of religious and cultural events celebrated effectively and virtually every year.

Festivals are the source of social, mythological, religious, and historical backgrounds. All the festivals celebrated reflect their uniqueness. Dashain and Tihar are the festivals that carry national significance in Nepal. Different cultural and religious diversity is visible while celebrating different festivals. Read below to learn about the major festivals of Nepal

Dashain

Dashain is one of the important festivals all over Nepal. The victory of good over evil has been a symbolic meaning to celebrate this festival. Dashain is one of the longest festivals in Nepal; it is celebrated for 15 days.

Dashain: Festival in Nepal
TIka & Jamara: WIKI

Dashain generally falls on the month of Ashivn or Kartik (i.e. September to November). The starting day of Dashain is Ghatasthapana and ends at Kojagrat Purnima. On the 7th day of Dashin in Pulpati the flowers and red cloth are brought from Gorkha to Kathmandu. Goddess Durga is worshiped throughout the festival and on the 10th day of Dashain people receive tika, jamara, and blessings from their elders.

Some of the activities that can be seen peeking in Dashain are flying kites, playing cards, and playing swing. These festivals bring joy to every individual participating. Read more about Dashain.

Tihar:

Tihar is a festival of lights, colors, and flowers. It falls after two weeks of Dashain. The festival is for 5 days; during these days goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth is worshiped.

Diyas or small clay oil lamps are lit in houses and temples across the country.
Diyas or small clay oil lamps are lit in houses and temples across the country.

During these five days, people all around Nepal clean their houses and decorate their premises with lights and flowers. Later, in the evening group of people gather together and celebrate by playing Deusi-Bhailo, singing, and dancing.

Moreover, the festival unites the relationship between brothers and sisters, Bhai Tika. Sister puts Santa-rangi tika (seven-colored tika) on her brother’s forehead wishing for a long and happy life.

Chhath:

Chhath is a festival celebrated by the majority of people living in the Terai region. The festival runs for 4 days to worship the god Surya, the only god that has existed to people to date.

Chhath: Festivals in Nepal
Devotees of the Festival Chhath Parva in Janakpur, Nepal: WIKI

The devotees fast all day wishing for the happiness of the family and the next day they end the festival by worshiping the rising sun. During Chhath, people use new utensils to cook delicacies for the people fasting and praying. It is believed that praying for the sun during Chhath eliminates skin disease. On this auspicious day, people gather on the river bank to worship the sun in the evening.

Teej:

Teej is another festival for Hindu women all over the country. The festival will be celebrated for three days and the women stay fasting. Teej falls on monsoon in the month of Shravan (June-July). There is a belief that if unmarried girls fast without the consumption of water or any food, they get a husband like Lord Shiva.

Moreover, married women wish for a long life for their husbands. Nepalese women celebrate the festival by singing and dancing. On the first day, all the women gather together to have a feast popularly known as “Dar” and they call it Dar Khane din. The following day they fast and visit the Pashupatinath temple. On the third day, the women pay homage to saints and end the festivals by taking a bath.

Holi:

Holi is popularly known as the festival of colors, the festival of love, and the festival of spring. This festival will be celebrated by playing with water and colors. Hoil falls in the spring season and during Chaitra (March).

Holi: Festival
Photo by Nishant Das on Pexels.com

The importance of Holi is to celebrate the death of “Holika”. Holi is significant for the divine love of Radha Krishna. People often forget their grudges and ask for forgiveness exchanging sweets. Terai region also celebrates Holi with great passion.

Lhosar:

Lhosar is one of the festivals that carries significance for Buddhist people all over Nepal. People from Tibet called it Losar and it means the beginning of a new year.

At this festival people decorate their house, all the family gather together and enjoy singing and dancing. In addition, people visit monasteries, wear their cultural dress, drink homemade alcohol, and have a mask dance. Lhosar is classified into different types according to the communities.

  • Tamu Lhosar: celebrated by the Gurung community.
  • Sonam Lhosar: celebrated by the Tamang community.
  • Gyalpo Lhosar: celebrated by the Sherpa community.

Punhi:

Punhi is popularly known as Yomari punhi and is the festival celebrated in the Newar community. This festival is celebrated at the end when rice is harvested. In Nepali, Purnima represents full moon day, so yomari punhi falls on full moon day (2nd month of the Lunar Calendar).

Annapurna is the goddess of grain and is worshiped on this day. Yomari is a mixed sweet made from rice flour and mixed sesame seeds. Yomari in winter keeps you warm and gives you energy. The stuffing in Yomari can be anything you like, so you alter and try new recipes as well.

Indra Jatra:

Indra Jatra is a religious festival that is popular among Hindus and the Buddhist community. Also, Indra Jatra is popular as Yenya. The festival takes place in Kathmandu Durbar square where all the people gather and celebrate.

indra jatra festival
Indra Jatra, Kathmandu

Indra Jatra is generally famous for masked dances like Lakhe nach with the scary image(mask) on their face. With the festival being performed, Kumari Jatra also performs where the living goddess Kumari is taken for a ride in Charritot. People use lamps along the routes in remembrance of their loved ones.

Buddha Jayanti:

Buddha Jayanti is celebrating in remembrance of the birthday of Lord Gautam Buddha. On this day, a prince was born as Siddhartha Gautam who later founded Buddhism. Buddha’s birthday is celebrated all over Asia.

Generally, his followers visit Swayambhu, Bouddha, and monasteries on this day. His followers gather in a place, stay fasting in his name, sing the prayers, and enjoy this day.

Udhauli & Ubhauli:

The Kirat community has great influences and celebrates Udhauli & Ubhauli every year. This festival is celebrated twice a year (summer and winter). Kirati people celebrate Udhauli in the month of Mangsir to thank the nature god for providing them with enough harvest for the year.

People begin to migrate down the hill to protect themselves from the cold. Ubhauli is celebrating the month of Baishak which denotes the beginning of the farming season and also people start to migrate upwards.

Shivaratri:

Shivaratri is the greatest festival in the Hindu community where we worship Lord Shiva. Devotees take a deep bath in the river and stay fasting for the whole day. Generally, People visit the Pashupatinath temple. Shivaratri falls on Falgnu (February or March).

Shivaratri:
Photo by Bishesh Pandey on Pexels.com

Later at night, People also enjoy sitting on fire and keeping themselves warm. There is a ritual of vang and datura to please lord shiva.

Janai Purnima:

Hindu people celebrate Janai Purnima on the day of Purnima (full moon day). This festival is widely popular as Raksha Bandhan where the sister ties a band called rakhi on the brother’s hand for their safety and long life.

On this day boys who have done bratabandha wear Janai (a sacred thread) and both men and women wear Raksha Bandhan in their hands. People celebrate this festival by eating kwati, a mixed soup of nine sprouted beans.

Gai Jatra:

Gai Jatra is a traditional festival that carries the remembrance of loved ones. The newar community enjoys this festival with great pride. The festive fall on Bhadra (August to September)

gai Jatra: Festival of Nepal
Jai Jatra, Kathmandu

On this day people roam around the city wearing face masks and enjoy dancing and singing in the street. People also remember the loved ones who passed away and share their feelings and believe that their loved ones are in heaven.

Krishna Janmashtami:

Krishna Janmashtami is the major festival of Nepal where people celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna. There is a specific group of devotee who follows Lord Krishna known as Krishna Pranahmi. People often call it Krishnashtami, SaatamAatham, Gokulashtami, Yadukulashtami, and Srikrishna Jayanti. It falls in August and lasts for 2 days.

On this day Lord Krishna was born; devotees of Krishna fast and worship Shiva wholeheartedly. On top of it, the next day people play games such as Dahi handi (famous among Indian Hindus) and fly kites.

Biska Jatra

Biska Jatra is a popular festival celebrated in Bhaktapur, Nepal, during the Nepali new year. The festival is characterized by the erection of a tall wooden pole, known as a linga, which is adorned with colorful flags and offerings. A highlight of the festival is the pulling of a chariot carrying the god Bhairab and his consort Bhadrakali, which is believed to bring good fortune to the participants.

Biska Jatra

Rato Machindranath Jatra

Rato Machindranath Jatra is a month-long festival celebrated in Patan, Nepal, during the summer months. The festival centers around the pulling of a chariot carrying the god Rato Machindranath, who is believed to bring rain and good harvests. The chariot is pulled through the streets of Patan by devotees, and the festival culminates in the erection of a bamboo pole adorned with prayer flags.

rato machindranath jatra
Rato Machindranath is a rain god for the valley and people celebrate its jatra century.

Matatirtha Aunsi

Matatirtha Aunsi is a traditional Hindu festival celebrated in Nepal on the new moon day in the month of Baisakh (April-May). The festival is a day to honor and show gratitude to mothers, both living and deceased. Devotees visit the Matatirtha temple in Kathmandu to perform rituals and make offerings to their mothers, seeking blessings for their well-being and prosperity.

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  1. […] Related: A Brief Guide to Festivals in Nepal […]

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