Festivals of Nepal

1. Dashain

Based on the religion, the biggest festival of Dashain, a celebration of Goddess Durga’s victory over evil Mahisashur, has symbolic meaning deeply rooted in Nepalese society. Dashain is the longest (15-day-long) and the most auspicious festival in Nepal. Dashain festival falls in September or October, starting from the Shukla Paksha  (bright lunar fortnight) of the month of Ashwin and ending on the full moon day (Purnima).

Among the 15 days (Ghatasthapan to Purnima) for which it is celebrated, the most important days are the first (ghatasthapana), seventh (Saptami), eighth (Maha-Astami), ninth (Nawami) and the tenth (Vijaya Dasami/Tika), but tenth day is very important all over the country Shakti is worshiped in all her manifestations. Dashain festival is also known for its importance on the family gatherings, as well as on a renewal of community relations and links. People return from all parts of the world and country to celebrate together. During the festival all government offices, educational institutions and other private offices remain closed in holidays duration.

2. Tihar “Festival of Light”

Tihar, Hindu festival is also known as the “Festival of Light” or Deepawali. All the houses and even the street corners are illuminated by colorful lights and bulbs.  Tihar, a celebration of lights and color dedicated to Goddess Laxmi, too reveals social joy all over the country. This festival celebrated for 5 days at the end of October or in the beginning of November. Lights and colored decoration are used to decorate homes over a three to five day period. The five days are called Yama-Panchaka because the whole period is dedicated to the worship of Yama (Yamaraj) the God of Death.

Tihar festival begins with worship of crow and completes with Bhai Tika (worshipping brothers). The first day of this festival also called Kaag Tihar is the day of the crow. Crow is believed to be the massagers of Yama. The second day of tihar called “Kukur Tihar) day of the dog. Dog is worshipped according to the religious ritual. Tika is mark of blessing on dogs’ foreheads on the creature along with garlands and feed them different varieties of the foods. The holy cow is worshipped on the morning of the third day. The fourth day of Gobardhan Puja performed to honor Krishna’s of lifting the mountain Gobardhan to protect his peoples from a terrible rain and floods. The festival comes to the conclusion 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.

3. Buddha Jayanti

Buddha Jayanti is the birth day of Lord Gautam Budhha, a special day for both Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal. On this day people celebrate the life of Lord Buddha; his Birth, Enlightenment and  Death. Buddha Jayanti  falls on the full moon night of either May or June. The peace lover and Buddhist communities like to make their pilgrimage in Lumbini , Kapilvastu of Nepal at birth place of Lord Buddha on this day.

Lumbini – the birthplace, Tilaurakot or Kapilvastu, Nepal, is the place where Prince baby Siddhartha was born. Buddha spent his first 29 years, Devdaha – his maternal home, and other sacred places and monasteries all over Kathmandu and Nepal, are crowded with followers on the day of Buddha Jayanti.

Gautam Buddha is also known as Shakyamuni. He was born on full moon day, he reached nirvana in the same day and left from this world on the same day of Baishakh Sukla Purnima (Full moon day of Baishakh). This day is celebrated as Budhha Jayanti all over the world.

Lumbini, Nepal has listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site and birthplace of Gautama Buddha.

4. Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri the festival celebration of birthday of supreme god of Hindus to dedicated to the Lord Shiva which falls in February or March. This is one of the main festivals of Nepal Exactly meaning of “Night of the Lord Shiva”. As per the Hindu lunar calendar Shivaratri is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of the Magh (name of the month)

Millions of followers visit Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, one of the holiest temples of the Hindus.  Hindus people who believes with Shiva chant Om Namah Shivay and Maha Mritunjaya all night praying for light over darkness. Visitors are seen enjoying the atmosphere with interest, as colorful and uncovered sadhus are seen meditating, posing for photographs and interacting with disciples.

Maha Shivaratri is known as one of the most celebrated religious festivals for Hindus. Every year Hindus from all over the world are seen thronging many Shiva temples during this festival. Pashupatinath Temple is the place with the biggest crowd on this day.

Spring is one of the best times to visit Nepal, and Indian tourists enjoy visiting during the most auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri.

Apart from Puja and Darshan other attractions for visitors to the temple locality at the time will be the colorful crowd including good-looking Sadhu Baba’s from different parts of Nepal and India. People come to Pashupatinath to observe and see the different kinds of Sadhu Baba’s and their events; some Sadhus are covered is ashes while some prefer to be completely naked.

5. Janai Purnima

The most popular festival Janai Purnima is a hindu festival celebrated all over the country. On this day also celebrated Rakshya Bandan, every hindus ties a blessed thread (“Doro”-nepali name of thread).  Janai Purnima maintains the holy significance whereas Rakshya Bandan makes love and respects in between or among sisters and brothers, with family get together and feasts of Kwati (mixed beans soup).

On the occasion of this big day of Janai Purnima or Rakshya Hindu men renewing their Janai and people collecting Janai from Shiva temples places like the Pashupatinath in Kathmandu, Kumbeshwar in Patan, Gosaikunda in Langtang region and Shiva and Ganesh temple in all over the Nepal.

The community of Newar’s of Kathmandu Valley (Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktpur and neighboring village) call this festival Gunhi Punhi and they prepare a soup of a mixture of beans called Kwati as special food for the day. Kwati is a nutritious soup made from different types of beans.

6. Gai Jatra

One of the most popular festivals Gaijatra generally celebrated in month of August or September based on lunar Calendar. In Newar Community of Kathmandu Valley Gai Jatra have most strongholds and mainly Tharu Community in Terai.  The festival Gai Jatra memorializes the death of people during the year. During the Gai Jatra festival, cows are marched in the streets.

Exactly the meaning of Gai Jatra is Cow Festival. Gai means Cow and Jatra mean festival. Gai Jatra is 8 days festival in Nepal. It is classic Nepalese festival. There are lots of fun in this festival like dancing, singing, caricature, comedy, play, data, drama, joke, anything that causes enjoyment and laughter are part of the festival’s focus. People whose family members have died during the year, those families decorated the cow around the city together with their young ones dressed as cows or eremites.

The festivities of Gai Jatra, beginning on the 1st day of the waning Moon in the month of August-September and does fast for a week. It is usually celebrated in the Nepalese month of Bhadra (August–September). Peoples also distribute food to others during the festival period.

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