Festival and Events in Nepal
Nepal is rich in cultural heritage; and the festivals that are celebrated throughout the years are the proof of it. Most of Nepali festivals are celebrated to honor Gods & Goddess from different religions and relive the ancient traditions & cultures. Every festivals have their own importance, unique story and different ways of celebrating it. Festivals in Nepal are celebrated with great exitement and has helped to strengthen the relationship between the peoples. Some of the most appreciated festivals & events of Nepal are:
Bisket Jatra/Nepal New Year (Baisakh/April)
Nepal follows Bikram Sambat as its national calendar which is about 56.7 years ahead of Gregorian calendar. And Baisakh 1 is the New Year for Nepal and Bisket Jatra falls in this day. In this day, there is grand celebration in places like Bhaktapur and Banepa, which is a delight to watch.
Buddha Jayanti (Baisakh/May)
Lord Gautam Buddha was born in full moon day of Baisakh about 2500 years ago at Kapilvastu, Lumbini. Today is celebrated as Buddha Jayanti to mark the birth date of Lord Buddha who is also called Light of Asia.
Tiji Festival (Jestha/May)
Tiji Festival is a three day ritual also known as “Chasing of the demons”, celebrated in Mustang, Annapurna region with lots of joy & public participation. Only limited numbers of people are allowed to participate in the festival, so if you are interested to take part in the festival, you have to make sure to reserve your place as soon as possible.
Rato Machhendranath Jatra (April-May)
Rato Machhendranath also known as the god of rain is worship by both Hindu and Buddhist followers of Nepal. The Chariot festival of Rato Machhendranath is the longest and one of oldest festival celebrated in Patan. Just before the starting of monsoon, the people of Patan pull the chariot through the streets of Patan with the image of “Machhendranath” or “Bunga Dyah” at about 65 feet high on the chariot. This procession last for a month and the festival terminates with showing the sacred jewel-studded black vest by President of the country.
Gai Jatra (Shrawan/August)
Gai Jatra means festival of cows which was said to be started by King Pratap Malla to bring a smile into face of his queen who had been grieving her son’s death. In this day, people march around the street with cows or people disguised as cows, to commemorate the death of their relatives. You can also find many satirical jokes, pictures & plays about politicians of Nepal in this day.
Indra Jatra (Ashwin/August)
Indra Jatra is the festival started by Gunkamadeva to commemorate the foundling of city of Kathmandu and is celebrated by huge enthusiastic participation from people of Kathmandu valley. In this day, there is marching of traditional army and Nepal army followed by dances from masked religious figures such as Lakhe, Pulu kisi etc. and procession of chariot of Ganesh, Bhairav and most popular, Living Goddess Kumari. There is also exhibition of many religious images in this day.
Dashain is the most important & longest festival of Nepal which is celebrated to mark the Goddess Durga’s victory over evil. During this festival, people go back to their homes to receive blessings from their elders. The days are mostly clear & windy and children fly kites to enjoy themselves.
Tihar is also called festival of light because people light their house with colorful lights, diyos (oil lamp) & candles. In this festival, people worship Crows, Dogs and Cows. Forth day is most important which is celebrated by worshiping Goddess Lashami, also known as Goddess of Wealth. Fifth day is Bhai Tika in which sisters give offering to their brothers like tika, sweets and other delicious food stuffs. And brothers give gifts to their sister in return.
Christmas Day (Poush/December)
Christmas is celebrated by Christian community in Nepal as birth date of Lord Yeshua (Jesus). The places are decorated with snow cottons, Christmas tree and colourful lights especially in Tourist area like hotels and restaurant.
Maha Shivaratri (Falgun/February)
Maha Shivarati is also very important Hindu festival which is celebrated to thank Lord Shiva for saving the world by drinking the poison that came out of Samundra Manthan (churning of Sea). Pashupatinath is visited by thousands of religious pilgrims.
Holi is festival of colors which is celebrated by putting colors on other people’s face and splashing colorful water over them. It is celebrated at the end of winter season on the last full moon day of lunar month Phalgun (february/ march). This festival is also known as festival of love and affection.
Ghode Jatra (Chaitra/March)
Ghode Jatra is also called festival of horses & in this day, horses are paraded in front of top national officials by Army & Police at Tundikhel.