Nepal is a country which encloses varied geography, wealthy bio-diversity and even more diverse culture. Every community follows individual customs, passed down from their ancestors.
All of them have their unique viewpoints and their events to rejoice. The most beautiful part of this story is the satisfaction and fulfillment of their own culture and respect for the traditions of others. So, these several traditions and festivals are pleasantly synchronized in Nepal. Because of the diversity in culture, the festivals in Nepal are diverse too!
Numerous festivals are celebrated every year in Nepal. Known as one of the most diverse countries in the world, the Nepalese people residing here participate in festivals and celebrations. Being a place of festivity, several people in Nepal who celebrate festivals and Jatras almost every day! The festivals have some religious or traditional values attached to them, so the celebration of festivals in Nepal is a part of the Nepalese tradition and are to be taken seriously with fun! Many of these festivals are celebrated following the lunar calendar; therefore, the famous festivals in Nepal may not fall on a precise day corresponding to the solar calendar or the English calendar.
Dashain is the longest and most auspicious festival of Nepal. It is celebrated according to the Nepalese lunar calendar, usually between the beginning of October and end of November. It is the festival of reunions as people tend to return home to meet up with their families on this special occasion. The name Dashain, according to the Nepalese language, suggests that it is celebrated for ten days. The last day of Dashain is called Vijayadashami; People receive tika (a mixture of red colour and rice grains), Jamara and blessings from their elders on this day. People buy and wear new clothes and children even fly kites during this festive month.
Tihar is celebrated about a month after Dashain. Also known as the festival of lights, it is one of the most enjoyable festivals In Nepal and a favourite for people all around the country. During Tihar, the houses are kept clean and well-lit along with some decorative lights. People also play with fireworks and have fun. It is celebrated for five days, and every day has its importance. The first day is for the crow, second for dogs, the third for cows and goddess Laxmi. On the fourth day, bulls are worshipped, and Newari People celebrate mha puja and Nepal Sambat. The last day of Tihar is called Bhai Tika, where sisters worship their brothers with tika, garlands of flowers, sweets and food. The brothers put tika and give gifts and blessings to their sisters.
Bisket Jatra is a festival mostly observed by the people of the Newar community. It is primarily celebrated in the Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur districts of Nepal. The festival is a nine day-long, in which lord Bhairav and goddess Bhadrakali are worshipped. The idols of the deities are kept on a chariot, and the chariot is pulled around the city. While the Charriot is being pulled around, the people engage themselves with good food and drinks to celebrate the festival.
Chhath is a festival celebrated by the people of terai region in Nepal. People worship the sun god in this festival for longevity and prosperity. The festival is celebrated for four days in which people take fast and give offerings to the sun god in the nearby rivers or ponds. The rivers and lakes are flocked with devotes, giving offerings to the sun. In this festival, people express their gratitude towards the sun for sustaining life on earth.
The festival Lhosar is the Tibetan New Year and people celebrate it for several days with activities such as singing, dancing and eating. A vibrant crowd gathers over the stupa to commemorate the festival, wearing an assortment of conventional attire. In the stupa, a group of monks leading with a high-level teacher emerges and passes a lion-framed entrance and into the internal part of the stupa. They smile, giggle and welcome family and friends as they knock into each other in the mass. The ambience of the festival is wondrous.
The festival of colour, Holi, is a very colourful, good-natured celebration. This festival celebrates the death of the demon Holika. It is famous in the terai and the hilly regions of Nepal but people celebrate it on two different days; first in the hilly area and the Terai region the following day. People throw coloured powders, coloured water and water balloons on their friends, relatives and acquaintances. Be prepared to be smeared with colours if you plan to step out on the streets on this day!
Mahashivaratri is a festival dedicated to Lord Shiva, the most supreme among the Hindu deities. The name of the festival means "The night of Shiva", and it is celebrated by Hindus all around the country by visiting temples of lord Shiva or worshipping idols dedicated to Lord Shiva (Shivalinga). Thousands and thousands of pilgrims and devotees of Lord Shiva enter Kathmandu to visit Pashupatinath temple on this day. The celebration of this festival In Nepal signifies overcoming all the darkness and bringing happiness and joy into our lives.
Buddha Jayanti marks the birthday of Buddha, the founder of Buddhism and also known as the light of Asia. This festival is observed by Buddhist devotes by going to nearby stupas and monasteries. Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha is situated in Nepal and is visited by tons of devotees on this day. The devotees uniquely celebrate the festival in Lumbini. Devotees also visit the Bouddhanath stupa and Swyambhunath stupa on this day.
Teej is a festival for women and enjoyed by the women in Nepalese society. The women worship Lord Shiva and fast for a day during this festival. Married women fast for the prolonged existence of her husband and a good relationship between them and happy married life, while unmarried women fast for a good husband. The women Visit their relatives the night before the festival and eat 'Darr' (a meal eaten the night before the fast). On The Day of Teej, women wear red saris, pieces of jewellery and dance in the Teej songs for the entire day celebrating their womanhood.
Janai Purnima is the festival in which Hindus renew their sacred thread. The holy thread given to the Hindu men during their bratabandha (ritual of ascending into manhood), is changed on this day by performing specific rituals with the help of a pundit. The women and children tie a sacred thread around their wrist in this festival, believing that it would protect them from evil. It is also a common tradition for girls to put rakhi on the wrists of their brothers in this festival. The brothers, in turn, give gifts to their sisters.
These were some significant festivals to observe in Nepal; there are other festivals in Nepal that you can experience all-around the year. With more than 50 festivals, you are bound to bump into some festival almost every day! No matter the festival, the celebration of each festival in Nepal is equally enjoyable and enticing!