Major Festivals of Nepal
Nepal is rich in culture and tradition. Along with these cultures and traditions. The Country is rich in Festivals. Therefore, here is a list of the major Festivals in Nepal.
Nepal is a tiny nation in South Asia that borders India to the east, west, and south as well as China to the north. With 147,516 square kilometers, Nepal is home to numerous mountains, including the tallest mountain in the world, Everest. Along with the Himalayas and other natural features, Nepal is well known throughout the world for its rich culture and traditions.
Nepal is a small country, yet it is home to many different ethnic groups, each of which has its own culture, custom, language, and exciting festivals. Tourists will find Nepal’s festivals to be incredibly unfamiliar because they are based on religiously significant events from old epic literature and mythology. In Nepal, there are several important festivals.
You will come across at least one festival in Nepal no matter what time of year you choose to travel.
Since Nepal is a country with many different ethnic groups, its culture and festivals are unique. However, for the celebration, people assemble and band together. Grand holidays like Dashain and Tihar have national significance and are observed by the entire country. These festivities renew the nation’s joy with their vivid lights and color.
Falling between October and November. The Newar people also celebrate holidays like Rato Macheendra Jatra and Bisket Jatra. Similar to how Gurungs and Magars celebrate Lhosar, a particular ethnic group in Terai celebrates Chhat as their main holiday.
Some of the major festivals of Nepal
Dashain and Tihar
Some of Nepal’s biggest and most well-known festivals include Dashain and Tihar. The nation as a whole celebrates Dashain and Tihar. All departments and offices of the school are closed during this time. It is a holiday that inspires a variety of joy and celebration among the populace. Families get to get together to spend time together, friends get together, and city dwellers visit their countryside. The celebration of these two major festivals in Nepal has a purpose.
According to Hindu mythology, Dashain in particular is a sign of Goddess Durga’s victory over the villain Mahishasura. In contrast, Tihar is a festival with lights and colors in honor of Goddess Laxmi, the deity of abundance and success. People of all ethnicities celebrate Dashain and Tihar with the same delight and excitement as others, regardless of their faith in particular. The celebrations are the longest and take place in the autumnal months.
Dashain is one of the major festivals celebrated in Nepal. Tihar is observed for five days and Dashain for fifteen. The family members get together to enjoy delectable food, games of cards, and a feast. The major purpose of the occasion is for elders to bless people by placing Tika and Jamara. The subsequent holiday, Tihar, takes place two weeks after Dashain.
These are the celebrations of various animals, including dogs, cows, oxen, and crows. Sisters wish their brothers a long life by applying tika to their foreheads on the last day. This will be something to remember forever. As a result, the festivals have significant symbolic importance in addition to bringing many forms of excitement and celebration.
The world recognizes Nepal as the “birthplace of Gautam Buddha.” Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Lumbini, Nepal, in 623 BC as a prince of the Shakya dynasty. Every year, Nepal celebrates Buddha Jayanti as a reminder of the day Lord Buddha was born, of his enlightenment, and of his demise. As with Hindus, it is a major day for Buddhists as well. The entire population of Nepal celebrates Buddha Jayanti.
One of Nep’s major celebrations takes place on a full moon night in either May or June. Buddha is widely recognized as a peace symbol. People, therefore, travel to Lumbini in Nepal, the city where Buddha was born, during this festival on this fortunate day.
During these festivities, the entire monasteries, Gompas, and stupas come alive. During Buddha Jayanti, the normally quiet monasteries are suddenly overrun with visitors. This day is celebrated in Buddhist communities with great splendor and majesty. The Buddhist stupas and locations in Nepal including Boudhanath, Swayambhunath, and mostly Lumbini, the birthplace, are visited by people from all over the world.
Butter lamps and prayer flags are used to decorate these locations. Monks assemble to pray and chant Buddhist mantras on the festival of Buddha Jayanti. Most individuals practice dan-dharma and eat vegetarian food. Buddhist sutras are observed by women who visit viharas. Most often, on Buddha Jayanti, prasad, Kheer, or sweet porridge is prepared in every home.
Buddha Jayanti is one of Nepal’s national holidays as a result. It represents both world peace and Lord Buddha’s birth.
One of the greatest celebrations, primarily in the Kathmandu Valley, is called Gai Jatra. Gai means cow and Jatra means festival in Nepali, where it is a traditional holiday. These are mostly the Newar community’s festivals that take place in the month of Bhadra (August–September).
Different parts of the valley observe Gai Jatra in different ways. Because the king who initiated this celebration was from the nation’s capital, Kathmandu, this city is where it all began. Kathmandu residents observe it with great joy and festivities. To show their love and honor the birth of Lord Buddha, the procession circles Kathmandu.
Finally, due to its unique customs for commemorating the event, Bhaktapur observes Gai Jatra in a more diverse fashion. The deceased’s portrait was hanging in the center of a bamboo chariot that the people walled and rode through the streets. As a result, Bhaktapur will have a long line of chariots during this festival.
Janai Purnima or Rakshya Bandhan
In Nepal, various festivals each have their own significance and meaning. An other significant event in Nepal is Janay Purnima, also known as Rakhsya Bandhan. This celebration always takes place on the Shrawan full moon day. For various ethnic groups, this holiday has diverse connotations. While the Newar community celebrates this day as Kwati Purnima, those who live in Terai celebrate it as Rakshya Bandhan. Chhetri and Brahmins celebrate Janai Purnima.
Men from the Hindu community execute their yearly rite of changing the thread, known as “Janai” in Nepali, during the festivals. The words Janai and Purnima both refer to the full moon. Additionally, today is the day when brahmins tie knots or thin, multicolored thread on their hands while chanting mantras with a firm determination to follow the path of truth.
Thousands of worshippers come to the Patan Kumbeshwar temple on Janai Purnima, as well as other temples including Bangalamukhi, Ulmanta Bhairava, and two hit ponds. People think that the holy lake Gosaikunda, which is located 43 kilometers north of Kathmandu, is where the water in the ponds springs.
The holy lake Gosaikunda is visited by people from Nepal and India on Janai Purnima. They think washing in this sacred river will wash away their transgressions. Additionally, during Janai Purnima, families join together and enjoy a feast of different foods, with sprouted lentils—commonly referred to as “Kwati” in Nepali served as the main course. Raksha Bandhan and Janai Purnima both fall on the same day. Sisters tie a thread on their brother’s hand at the Rakshya Bandhan ceremony, and they also exchange presents.
The main festival for Hindu ladies in Nepal is called Teej. The festival often takes place in early August or early September. The goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Shiva, is the major focus of the event. In order to desire a long and healthy life for their husband, women observe a daylong fast during these celebrations.
Girls act quickly to find a sympathetic husband in the future. During these festivities, women from all around the nation worship Lord Shiva while dancing and wearing red saris adorned with gold. According to Hindu mythology, Parvati’s father wants her to wed Lord Vishnu, but as Parvati has wanted to wed Lord Shiva since she was a little girl, she flees from her father’s home and weds Lord Shiva.
Therefore, Teej is a significant day celebrated as the union of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The main festival in Nepal is also called Teej.
Throughout these festivities, women from all around the nation visit the Pashupati temple. People who were unable to make it to the Pashupati temple congregate there and have fun among themselves by singing and dancing. Hindu ladies wear red saris, worship Lord Shiva, and pray for their husbands’ long life and happy marriage. Three days, including a feast day, a day of fasting, and Rishi Panchami, make up Teej.
On the first day of this particular celebration, women visit their parents’ home where they eat a variety of cuisines, visit with their sisters, families, and friends, sing traditional songs, and have a good time till late at night. They then observe a fast and visit a local Shiva temple on the second day. On day two, dancing and singing are still going on.
Finally, ladies take a holy bath after waking up on the last day of the Teej (Rishi Panchami) and make offerings of food, cash, and other items to seven pure-hearted Rishis from the Hindu pantheon.
Shree Krishna Janmashtami
Another significant Hindu holiday is Shree Krishna Janmashtami in Nepal. The celebration takes place in August or September, and in different regions of India, the day is also known as Gokulashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Sri Krishnashtami, and Srikrishna Jayanti. According to the Nepali calendar of Bikram Sambat, Krishna Janmashtami occurs on Ashtami tithi, the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha of the month of Bhadra.
According to Hindu Mythology, each birthday of a god or goddess is celebrated as a special occasion. Krishna’s birthday consequently becomes a significant day for Hindus. Lord Krishna is the eighth “incarnation” or avatar of Lord Bishnu, one of Hinduism’s Trimurti deities.
He was the eighth child of Mathura’s King Vasudev and Queen Devaki. Hindus think that Lord Krishna was created to put a stop to Kansa, his maternal uncle Kansa’s bad deeds. Although he was born to Vasudev and Devaki, Nanda and Yasoda Maiya raised him.
Krishna, on the other hand, is a name that also originates from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. He assisted the Pandavas in their battle with the Kauravs to win the Mahabharat, as he was Arjun’s charioteer. Lord Krishna is quoted as saying in the Bhagavad Gita, “Whenever evil is widespread, I will reincarnate again and again to put an end to the evil and to safeguard the Dharma (good).
Krishna Jayanti is observed as a celebration of the triumph of good and dharma over evil and the devil. Hindus also visit the neighboring Krishna temple to commemorate Krishnashtami. During the event, the majority of devotees visit the Patan Krishna Mandir. They offer Puja and adore Lord Krishna.
Another national celebration in Nepal is Fagun Purnima, popularly referred to as Holi. The festival of colors is this one. According to the calendar, the festival takes place between the months of February and March. Today is a day when everyone in the nation is having fun with colors and water. Holi takes place in March, which is Falun month in Nepal. The festival is known as Fagun Purnima in Nepal since it occurs during the Falgun month.
This is also Nepal’s largest festival. According to Hindu legend, Mahisasur is a fatal enemy of young Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Bishnu whose father was a demon king. Mahisasur gave his sister Holika, who was endowed with fire immunity, the order to murder his son Prahlad because the young boy was a follower of Lord Vishnu. Holika held Prahlad while she sat on fire in an attempt to kill him, but in doing so, she perished in the flames while the boy survived. People begin to celebrate Holi as a way of honoring good’s victory over evil.
Festival of Color (Holi)
On the other side, some individuals think that the custom of combining color and water is a representation of the romance between the Hindu deities Radha and Krishna. Krishna, who had blue skin, felt dejected since Radha has a light complexion. So instead of wishing for fit skin, his mother advises him to paint Radha. Consequently, the custom of trying to color others stems from the legendary tale of Krishna. Hopefully, this gave you some idea of some of the major festivals in Nepal.
Since no one rejects the color of Holi if it is done well, these vibrant events help bring strangers together. In order to wish each other a Happy Holi, people use colors. Friends and families get together to play Holi with each other, dousing each other in bright paint and water. As they toss paint and water on the streets, people of all ages enjoy Holi. Holi is typically celebrated more cheerfully in terai. They engage in a number of colorful cultural dances while using traditional musical instruments.
During this occasion, a crowd gathers in Basantapur, Kathmandu. Holi is a time when the entire nation enjoys playing with color. On the other hand, celebrations in Nepal would be incomplete without traditional cuisine. On this occasion, participants eat a variety of traditional cuisines.
On the first day of Magh, the festivity occurs. On the Nepali calendar, Magh is the tenth month of the year. According to the Nepali calendar, Sankranti is the first day, while Maghe denotes Magh. Thus, the first day of Magh is combined with Maghe Sankranti. Hindus celebrate Maghe Sankranti as one of their festivals. Makar Sankranti is another name for Maghe Sankranti.
People typically bathe in the holy river on this day. Typically, tribunals take a bath (Triveni – the place where three rivers meet). During Maghe Sankranti, people frequently bathe in rivers in Shankhamul, the Bagmati riverbank in Patan, Dolalghat, Baraha Kshetra, Ridi, the Sachi Tirtha at Trivenighat (Panauti), and other locations.
Similar to this, fairs are conducted in Dev Ghat along the banks of the Kali Gandaki and Trishuli rivers. At the Kankai River, pilgrims take a sacred bathe. Additionally, even Hindus from India travel to Devghat and the Kankai river during the day to take a holy bath.
On the other side, Madhesh and Tharuhat Nepal celebrate Maghe Sankranti, one of Nepal’s most important festivals. The main holiday in that community is Maghe Sankranti. All the family members come together for a large feast during the occasion known as Maghi. From the last week of the month of Paush through the third of the next month, they lavishly celebrate it. In addition, other Hindus observe it by visiting the relatives of their loved ones and feasting on a variety of foods.
The nation of Nepal is cosmopolitan, multilingual, and multiethnic. The habits and traditions of many ethnic groups vary, and the same is true of festivals. Numerous holidays are observed in Nepal, and each festival’s celebration carries a distinct meaning. We have everything, from Jatras in the capital to Chhat in the neighboring region to national holidays like Dashain.
The Jatras are well-liked, especially in the valley among the locals who have lived there from ancient times. Indra Jatra is another important festival observed by a specific group in Nepal. Hopefully, this gave you some idea of some of the major festivals in Nepal.
The Newari people of Nepal celebrate Indra Jatra. People rejoice and are quite excited about it. The festival is observed differently by residents of different parts of the valley, including Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan, Kirtipur, and Banepa. It is a Jatras, a significant annual event held within the valley. Jatras is the celebration, while Indra is the name of the God of heaven.
Indra Jatra hence signifies the celebration of Lord Indra. Indra, a Hindu deity, is honored during Jatras. People commemorate Indra Jatra as a way of giving thanks to Lord Indra, the rain god. People think that Indra is responsible for the rain that falls on the fields during harvest time.
One of the largest festivals for Hindus is Mahashivaratri, which is primarily a celebration of Lord Shiva. The day is known as Mahashivaratri and honors Shiva, one of the Trimurti gods of Hinduism. Hindu mythology describes Shiva as the creator and destroyer. The event honors Shiva’s Grace, the Adi Guru from whom the Yogic tradition derives. On the night of Mahashivaratri, Lord Shiva dances in the heavens. This celebration honors the world’s “overcoming of darkness and ignorance.”
This Hindu holiday is observed at night, in contrast to most Hindu celebrations. On this day, devotees fast, practice self-study, engage in meditation, and keep all-night vigil at Shiva temples. Other common activities during this festival include doing contemplative yoga, worshiping Lord Shiva, staying up all night singing in His praise, and making offerings of fruits, leaves, sweets, and milk to Shiva.
In Nepal, this day is recognized as a national holiday for the entire country. Devotees travel from all over the world to the Hindu shrine Pashupatinath on this day. The Nepali Army commemorates this day with a grand celebration held at the Army Pavilion in Tundikhel. Dedicated followers dance and play a variety of classical music all night long.
With the addition of lights and people singing and dancing, the Pashupati district comes to life.
Mahashivaratri, which honors Lord Shiva, known as the God of Gods, has a significant influence on Hindus’ lives. The Shivaratri night is a time for introspection and soul-searching in order to advance and let go of anything that stands in the way of our prosperity. During the event, people fast in order to see how determined they are. Maha Shivaratri is one of the most important festivals for Hindu devotees as a result.