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10 Major Festivals celebrated in Nepal

 November 30, 2019      By Himalayan Hero
10 Major Festivals celebrated in Nepal

If you flip through the history of Nepal, you will find out the vibrancy, and colors. Every festival celebrated in every community has religious connotation, and mythological literature. Being a multi-cultural nation, the country is a homeland of more than 60 ethnic groups. The festivals celebrated in Nepal follow the Bikram Sambath (B.S) instead of A.D.

Nepalese belief in diverse, ethnic background. Despite all kind of celebrations, Dashain, Tihar & Loshar holds a higher significance.

From the high lands of Himalayas to the lowlands of Terai, a vivid cultural diversity can be figured out throughout the nation.

DASHAIN

Also known as the “Bada Dashain”, the festival is celebrated every year in the month of September-October. Known as the auspicious festival in the Nepalese community, the fair is rigorously celebrated for 15 days. It is the most anticipated festival in Nepal, and people to celebrate the festival return to celebrate with their family members. All the banking and financial institutions, government sector remains closed.

The Dashain festival starts from the Shukla Paksha and ends in Purnima. Through out the month, lord Durga is worshipped on her several manifestations representing victory and power. The first day is celebrated as “Ghatasthapana”, while the seventh day as “Phulpati”, the eight day as “Maha Asthami”, the ninth day as “Maha Navami”, the tenth day as “Bijaya Dashami” and the final fifteen day as “Kojagrat Purnima”.


Caption: The Bamboo swing which is created only in the occassion of Dashain festival. (Credit: the kathmandu post)

As a festival ritual, goddess durga is worshipped twice a day, while the children indulge themselves in the construction of bamboo swings. The culture highly demonstrates the tradition, culture and community with utmost spirit and fun. While on the tenth day, Bijaya Dashami, every Nepalese receives “tika” and “blessings” from the eldest family members, visit their relatives and enjoy a good festive meal.


TIHAR

Also celebrated as “Deepawali”, it is the second most highlighted festival of Nepalese community. The 5-days long festival is celebrated in the month of October-November. Popularly known as the festivity of lights, the festival commences, with Kaag tihar (Crow festival), the second day is marked as “Kukur tihar” (Dog festival), third day as “Gai Tihar (Cow festival) & Laksmi Puja” fourth day as Govardhan Puja and fifth day as “Bhai Tika”. The festival is all about lights and flowers.


Caption: Lakxmi Puja is celebrated by worshipping goddess Laksmi. (Credit:narayannews.com)

The noble festival shows reverence to human beings and animals and their long-lived relationships.


CHHATH PARBA


The Hindu vedic festival is highly celebrated in the Terai region of Nepal. The devotees dedicated themselves in worshipping “Sun” to thank them for granting life in earth and to full fill their own personal wishes.


Caption: Every morning and evening the devotees worship "Sun" in Chhath Puja. (Credit: firstpost.com)

The festival is observed for four days, and includes fasting, which abstains people from even drinking water. Every ritual of Chaath puja is celebrated in the banks of river, where offerings are made to rising and the setting sun.

TEEJ

The Haritalika teej is celebrated in the monsoon season. The festival is primarily celebrated by women. The festival follows the ritual of fasting and worshipping Lord Shiva. Throughout the day, women enjoy singing, dancing and enjoy the day.

Caption: Women devotees celebrating "Teej" by worshipping lord Shiva. (Credit: Bookmundi)

The married women, fast for the longevity for her husband’s life while the unmarried girls fast to get a good husband. On this day, only women get’s holiday, while every institution remains open.

HOLI (Fagupurnima)

The festival of spring, Holi falls in the month of March-April. The one-day festival sniffles the arrival of spring and marks the end of winter. The festival begins from the evening of Purnima where Holika Dahan “the victory of good over evil”.

Caption: Holi is played every year in the month of March to welcome the spring season. (Credit: orangesmile)

The next day of festival is fascinating as people play with colors and water. The fair is all about dry colors and eating traditional delicacies.

MAHA SHIVA RATRI

Honoring the Lord Shiva, Shiva Ratri is marked on the luni-solar month of February-March. Celebrated by the Hindu community, the devotees from all over the world, visit the pilgrimage Pashupati Nath temple. Unlike other festivals, this is celebrated at night as it includes “Jaagaran”.

Caption: Hindu saints visit 'Pashupati Temple' on the ocassion of Shivaratri. (Credit:the himalayan times) 

Fruits, sweets are offered to Shiva temple while artists perform classical dance in the evening at the premises of Pashupati Nath temple. For three days, huge fair is held to rejoice the festival.

BUDDHA JAYANTI

A day when Gautam Buddha was born. The day is rejoice under various name such as Buddha Purnima, Saga Dawa, and Vaisakh Purnima.  The Jayanti is observed on the full moon day. People, especially the followers of Buddhism visit several Vihars. Non-vegetarian foods are strictly avoided in this day.


Caption:The Maya Devi, Lumbini on the ocassion of Buddha Jayanti. (Credit: the himalayan times)

This is the biggest festival of Buddhist community. Hence, they observe a longer and full length of Buddha sutra. They dress themselves in white color and eat a special porridge “Kheer”.

JANAI PURNIMA

Janai Purnima is the feast of kuwatis. The festival is celebrated throughout the country in the month of August and is dedicated to males. On this day, people gather in Kumbeshwar, Gosaikunda, and Charikot to take holy baths.

Caption: The yellow scared thread tied in Janai Purnima, also known as "Rakshya Bandhan". (Credit:glocal khabar)

The male section of Hindu community, change their scared thread, also know as “Janai”, and tie a yellow thread in their wrist, also known as “Rakshya Bandan”. This is tied by chanting a mantra, "एन बद्धु बलि राजा दानबिन्द्रो महावल, तेन त्वं  बध नामी रक्षे मा चल मा चल"

Which means,” “I tie on you (the devotee) the raksha which was tied on Bali, the King of demons. Therefore Oh Raksha! Do not ever fail to protect this devotee, do not ever fail.”

The thread is then later tied in the tails of Cow on “Gai Tihar” in Deepawali. For the Newar community, this festival is marked as Gunhi Puhi. On this day, the Terai area, celebrate Raksha Bandan, where the sisters tie around beautiful decorated “Rakhis” on their brother’s hand. In return they get, gifts and cash.


LOSHAR

The highlander festival of Nepal is celebrated by the Tibetan Buddhist. This is the new year of Bhuddhism followers and is celebrated in various dates. It is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebration for three-days. On the first day, “Chhyang” a local beverage is made, on the second day, Gyalpo Losar is celebrated.


Caption: Tamu Loshar celebrated by the Tamang & Sherpa community. (Credit: ecs nepal)

Traditional food consumed in this occasion are green bananas and sugarcane. Types of loshar celebrated in Nepal are Tamu loshar, Sonam loshar, and Gyalpo loshar. The loshar is specially celebrated in Sherpa and Tamang community of Nepal.


JATRAS

Though no official holiday is declared by the government, Jatras are celebrated throughout the country by the Newari community. Indra Jatra, Gai Jatra, Bisket Jatra, Neku Jatra, Bajra Jogini Jatra, Siti Jatra, Godhe Jatra, Bunga Dyah Jatra and more.


Caption: The crowd during Bisket Jatra, Bhaktapur. (Credit: the himalayan times)

These Jatras are the charm of Newari culture. The highlights of this every Jatras is the living Goddess Kumari, Chariot Yatras, traditional music and Lakhe dance, colors and the dynamic crowd.
 
Himalayan Hero Adventures has been organizing several pilgrimage tours inside Nepal, India and Tibet. According to the travel need, the package can be customized. To find out more about the packages, you can contact us!


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