Festivals in Nepal - Happy Nomads
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It is said about Nepal that every other
structure is a holy shrine and every other day a festival. Well , if the number
of annual festival, both religious and national , is an indication m the saying
couldn’t be more true. Festival are an essential part of Nepalese life that
garner tremendous local participation. Festivals also offer visitors a valuable
opportunity not only for having fun but gaining insight into various aspects of
The religious festivals follow the lunar calendar, while national festivals have
fixed dates. Wherever or whenever you arrive in Nepal , you can be pretty sure
of being at the right time for one more special events .Some of the major and
interesting festivals are presented below:
Navavarsha (April) : the Nepalese New Year’s
usually falls in the second week of April .i.e.
the first day of Baisakh .The day is observed as a national holiday .The people
celebrate it with a great pomp and show .On this occasion, Bisket Jatra is held
in the city of Bhaktapur.
Baisakh Poornima (April): As Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha , the Light
of Asia , the triple anniversary of the Buddha’s birth , enlightenment and death
is observed with many colourful ceremonies on this day .People celebrate the
occasion with great veneration paying homage to Buddha at places like
Swayambhunath, Bouddhanath and Lumbini.
Red Machchhendranath Rath Jatra ( May-June):
This festival is the biggest socio-cultural
event of Patan .The wheeled chariot of a deity known as Bungdyo or Red
Machchhendranath is made at Pulchock and dragged through the city of Patan is
several stages till it reaches the appointed destination(Lagankhel) .The grand
finale of the festival is called the ‘Bhoto Dekhaune’ or the “shoving of a vest”
.A similar kind of chariot festival to Machchhendranath (white) is also held in
kathmandu city in the month of March-April.
It is celebrated in all the Sherpa settlements
in the month of July .The Sherpas of Kathmandu and Helambu regions participate
in dancing on this day.
Birthday of His Majesty the King:
The auspicious birthday of His Majesty king
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev falls on July 7 (Asad 23).This occasion is
celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the kingdom.
(July-August) It marks the birthday of Lord
Krishna. On this day, impressive ceremonies are conducted at the Krishna Temple
in Patan and at Changu Narayan.
Gaijatra ( Cow festival) :
(July-August) It is a carnival that lasts
eight days. Dancing, singing, comedy and anything that causes mirth and laughter
are its highlights.
(August-September) The festival of Indra, the
God of rain, is observed with great enthusiasm in Kathmandu Valley. The festival
lasts for eight days. The chariot of Kumari, the Living Goddess, is taken out in
procession through the main streets of Kathmandu.The festival is specially noted
for the echoes of drums and dancing feet of the masked dancers almost every
Dashain or Durga Puja
Dashain festival is
the most important festival of the Nepalese. The entire country is in
enthusiastic holiday mood at the time of the festival.
(October-November) Known as the festival of
Lights, Tihar is celebrated for five days. Houses are illuminated at night and
special sweets of different varieties are prepared.
The new Democratic Constitution of the Kingdom,
of Nepal was promulgated on November 9, 1990. Since then, this day is observed
as the Constitution Day.
Haribodhani Ekadashi, also called Tulasi Vivaha
is a significant Hindu festival, which falls on the eleventh day of the Kartik
(November) full moon
According to mythology in the four months during Chaturmasha Lord Vishnu had
reclined in front of demon king Bali’s palace upon the latter’s request and on
the day of Haribodhani Ekadashi he awoke and left for paradise.
On Haribodhani day devotees donate money food and clothes to Bramin priests and
the poor to gain virtue.
(November-December) This is a famous festival
of Janakpur in the eastern Terai. The occasion commemorates the marriage of Sita
to Ram, one of the most venerated Hindu divinities. It attracts thousands of
pilgrims from India to Janaki Temple in Janakpur.
this festival is most impressively observed in
the month of February by the Sherpas. They organize folk songs and dance on this
occasion. These dances can be seen in Khumbu, Helambu and other northern regions
of Nepal and at Bouddanath in Kathmandu.
this occasion is celebrated in honor of king
Prithvi Narayan Shah,the founder of modern Nepal, with a colourful ceremony in
front of the singha Durbar gate in Kathmandu on January 10/11 (Poush 27th).
National Democracy Day:
This day is officially observed as Rastriya
Prajatantra Divas or National Democracy Day as a mark of respect to the People’s
Revolution of 1950-51. It generally falls on February 18, i.e. Phalgun7.
(February) Shivaratri or the Night of Lord
Shiva is observed in February-March. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A
great religious fair takes place in the Pashupatinath Temple and thousands of
people from all over Nepal and India flock the temple to worship Lord Shiva.
(March-April) Known as the festival of horses,
it is one of the most exciting festivals of Kathmandu. Horse race and other
sports take place at Tundikhel on this day. In other parts of the city, various
deities are carried shoulder-high on palanquin (khat) to the accompaniment of
Dancing, folk song and the red colour of
women’s wedding saris dominate the days of Teej. Women observe a fast and flock
to Shiva temples where married once pray for a happy conjugal life and unmarried
once for a good husband.
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