Nepal festivals and holidays info
Thousands of years old festivals and traditions still celebrate in Nepal. Hence, you will find an innumerable number of colorful festivals throughout a year. No matter in which season you visit Nepal you will find one kind of festival or another. Nepal has many kinds of festivals. All Nepalese observe the national festivals. Some regions celebrate regional festivals in Nepal. Different ethnic groups observe local festivals in this country Nepal. All Nepalese together have more than 50 major festivals they celebrate not less than 120 days a year. The interwoven prevailing pattern of Hinduism and Buddhism allows the devotees of one religion to take part in the others festival. Nepalese have the holidays during the national festivals and regional holidays for regional festivals.
The following festivals listed under different months indicate how often Nepalese celebrate festivals in Nepal: Wherever or whenever you arrive in Nepal, you can be pretty sure of being at the right time for one or more special events. Some of the major and interesting festivals are presented below:
New Year (Nava Varsha):
The Nepalese New year’s Day usually falls in the second week of April. The first day of Baisakh start New Year in Nepalese calendar. The day is observed as a national holiday. The people celebrate it with great pomp and show. On this occasion, Bisket Jatra is held in the city of Bhaktapur Durbar Squire in Nepal.
This is national festival observed throughout the country. Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Nepalese observe the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha on this day.
The belief and the practice of Buddhism in Nepal date back to the time of Prince Siddharth Gautam, who was born in the southern Terai region of the country in Nepal about 543 BC. The realization that there was more to life than the lavish and comfortable life he was leading made him abandon all the worldly pleasures and search for enlightenment and the true meaning of life. After much wandering and searching, Gautam finally attained enlightenment while meditating under a pipul tree. Henceforth, known as the “Buddha” or “the enlightened one” he began to preach “The Four Noble Truths” to all who would listen. According to this doctrine, people suffer because of their desires and the root cause of all misery is desire. These desires and consequently all problems can be totally eliminated by following the “eightfold path”- right views, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation.
Buddha journeyed from place to place, teaching and converting hundreds of followers. He died at the age of eighty. However, his disciples continued to spread his teachings. Because of his wise teachings Lord Buddha is revered by many Nepalese and Buddha Jayanti is celebrated with much enthusiasm throughout this country, Nepal. This day falls on the full moon of the month of Baisakh and is celebrated to commemorate the birth, attainment of knowledge and the death of Lord Buddha. Thus, it is a thrice blessed day.
Prayers are sung and the Buddhists offer worship in all the major Buddhist shrines such as Swayambhu and Boudhanath.At Swayambhunath, for example millions of devout Buddhists gather to chant prayers and to burn butter lamps. The next morning a giant figure of Lord Buddha is displayed to all the followers and hundreds of small shrines are visited and worshipped. Large groups of people parade through the streets praising the Lord and his teachings. Special flags, usually red, blue; yellow and white can be seen flying high above all the Buddhist households.
Teej (The festival of women, August to September):
Teej festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion by women in Nepal. Teej is an annual festival, in this county Nepal. Married women observe observe Teej to honor lord Shiva and for long and healthy life of their husband. According to Hindu mythology Goddess Parvati reunited with Lord Shiva on this day. According to the holy books, the Goddess Parvati fasted and prayed fervently for the great lord Shiva to become her spouse.
Touched by her devotion, he took her for his wife. This is why women also fast on this day for their husbands or for their husbands to be. Unmarried girls also observe fast on this day for a good husband. Red color is an eminent part of this festival as it is considered auspicious for women observing Teej Fast and so most of them dress up in red or bridal clothes
Teej celebrations last for three pious days in Nepal. Women are busy shopping for this festival buying new clothes, bangles, potes, and preparing dishes they have the day before the fasting day. Teej is the only fasting day that women are not allowed to have anything the whole day including water.
Some of the attraction of Teej Festival is:
o Red attire
o Pote (red bead necklace)
o Dhago(bunch of threads in red color)
Dashain is the biggest festival in Nepal. It known as Durga Puja, for it is the worship of Mother Goddess Durga. It is Nepal’s longest and most lavishly celebrated Hindu festival. Like Christmas, it is the holiday when families unite to exchange blessings and gifts, to spread goodwill and to forget feuds and quarrels. Everyone wears new clothes, feasts are spread, and the businesses and government functions come to a pleasant halt as one and all make festive visits to their relative’s homes.
Throughout Nepal during the two weeks preceding the full moon of September or October, Hindu as well as Buddhist households celebrates Dashain in Nepal. In villages throughout the Kingdom, in the homes, streets and temple courtyards of Kathmandu valley, the great Goddess Durga is propitiated with elaborate dances and ritual animal sacrifices. For it was Durga, in a momentous victory, who saved the world from the evil forces. The gods and goddesses of Hinduism take may alternative forms. Durga, Divine protesters, is represented either as a simple holy water pot or in her full powerful form with 18 hands holding 18 weapons. Durga also manifested as ferocious Kali with a protruding tongue and necklace of Skulls; or as Taleju-the fearsome protector Goddess of Nepal; or as Kumari, the gentle virgin Living Goddess. Durga is compassionate when treated to generous offerings of blood and spirits, but she is vengeful is scorned with neglet; thus the fervor with which Hindus celebrate Durga puja.
For each of the first nine nights, the narrow lanes surrounding Patan’s Durbar square pulsate with masked dancers aglitter in jeweled costumes, each personifying one of the eight mother Earth goddesses, the Asta Matrika. It is celebrated upto 10 days.
Deepawali (The festival of Lights)
Deepawali is one of the second biggest festivals (after Dashian festival) of Hindu’s, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness in Nepal. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, where the third days is celebrated as the main Diwali festival or ‘Festival of lights’.
Deepawali festival is also known as ‘Tihar’ observed in honour of Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth and good luck. It is the friendliest of festivals observed throughout Nepal and also India. Laxmi, the Goddess of prosperity and good fortune is invited into every home. All people enjoy five days of feasting and family gatherings. It also heralds the advent of autumn in Nepal.
Laxmi puja is observed on the auspicious occasion of Deepawali. This is the third day of Tihar when the sacred cow is worshipped with great honour. Hindus worship and regard cow as their holy mother. So we worship the holy cow in the morning with garlands of flowers and apply red tika on her foreheads.
A few days before Tihar, preparations are seen in full swing for cleaning and whitewashing to add new look to houses and buildings. During this festival houses, shops, offices, factories and mills are brightly decorated with lights and traditional lamps. It is a time of lights and tinsel decorations. This type of illumination is done for three consecutive days, beginning from the first day of Tihar festival. But special light arrangements are done on the day of Laxmi puja. Flickering oil-tradtional lamps lighten al courtyards, doorways, roof-tops, verandahs and windows. People stroll around in new clothes and buy sweets and gifts. In this way, this festival gives glimpse of a traditional Christmas.
This is a national festival. This is the important day for the Hindus to make pilgrimage to t shrines of Lord Shiva. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims from al over the Kingdom and also from India gather at the Pasbuptf Temple in Kathmandu on this day. Devotees not being anl to make a trip to the Pashupati Temple visit the shrines of Lord Shiva