Major Festivals Of Nepal
Nepal has more festivals than the number of days in a year.
A festival is always a meaningful and memorable event in
the life of Nepalese people. Every festival has some purpose
to serve. From bringing in the rain to honoring the dead
or averting calamities, every festival has something spiritual
about it. Festival is a way of life in Nepal. With the number
of festivals that Nepal has, it is one of the best ways
to understand and appreciate the Nepalese ways of life.
The dates of Nepali festivals are according to the lunar
calendar. Hence the date of festivals varies from year to
Some of the major festivals
of Nepal are:
New Year's Day : - (First
day of Baisakh)
Matatirtha Aaunsi :- (Mother’s Day)
Buddha Jayanti :- Celebrating the birth of Lord Buddha
Rato Machhendranath Rath Jatra
:- The festival of Lokeswar, one of the patron Gods
of Kathmandu. A 40-foot tall chariot with the God's image
installed is pushed and pulled through the streets by hundreds
Kumar Sasthi :- A celebration
of the birth of the Hindu warrior God Kumar marks the beginning
of the rice planting season. It's also celebrated by groups
of boys who indulge in stone throwing fights.
No major festivals in the monsoon season.
Ghanta Kharna :- A festival
commemorating an ancient victory over a particularly malevolent
devil, Gathemuga. Mock funerals are held and figures burned
Guru Poornima :- Teacher's
Naga Panchami :- A festival
devoted to the snake gods, who most Nepalese believe ruled
the Valley before the coming of people.
Janai Purnia :- The festival
of changing of the sacred thread which every Brahmin caste
Hindu male wears around his torso.
Gaijatra(Cow Festival) :-
A festival to the sacred cow. Among other symbolisms of
the cow, cows are believed to lead the souls of the dead
to the underworld; and on Gaijatra Newar households process
around an ancient path believed to mark the city walls of
times past, in honor of recently deceased members of their
families. It's also a carnival celebration with practical
jokes - something like Mardi Gras combined with April Fool's
Krishna Asthami :- Celebrating
the birth of the Hindu God Krishna, one of the incarnations
of Lord Vishnu.
Gokarna Aunsi :- Father's Day
Indra Jatra :- This festival officially begins with the
raising of a 50-feet tall ceremonial pole at Hanuman Dhoka
Durbar Square in Kathmandu. A weeklong traditional display
of old images of Akash Bhairavs is one of the highlights
of this festival. The ceremonial pulling of the rath (chariot)
of the Kumari, the chariots of Ganesh and Bhairav accompany
the Virgin or Living Goddess
Bada Dashain :- The biggest
and most widely celebrated national festival in Nepal, usually
falls in early October. It begins with Ghatsthapana. Of
the two full weeks of celebrations, the 8th, 9th and 10th
are the most eventful and auspicious days. The main deity
worshipped during Dashain is Goddess Durga. On the 9th day,
thousands of devotees visit important Durga temples to worship
her. The tenth day is climax day. People visit to seniors
for Tika (blessings). The ministers, high-ranking officials,
general public queue to get Tika from their Majesty in Royal
Tihar :- It is also known
as Diwali or Deepavali, is the festival of lights in Nepal.
The celebrations continue for five days. It is an annual
festival celebrated in the bright blue days of autumn. The
festival begins with the worship of crows, followed by the
worship of dogs on the 2nd day. On the 3rd day, Laxmi, the
goddess of wealth, is worshipped. On the 5th day, one's
own soul is worshipped. Sisters also worship their brothers
on this day. This is called Bhai Tika, and is a great day
and the grand finale to Tihar.
Constitution Day :-
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.
Dhanya Purnima :- A full moon festival celebrating the end
of the rice harvest.
Mani Rimdu :- It is one
of the most fascinating High Himalayan Buddhist festivals
observed every year, usually in November. Tengboche, the
world's highest monastery located in Solu Khumbu district
of Nepal, is the focal point for the celebration of this
festival. The main attraction of this festival is the various
masked dances of religious significance.
Seto Machhendranath :-
A cleansing ritual for the White (seto) Machhendranath,
a counterpart god to the Red (rato) Machhendranath who's
chariot procession is in April-May.
Birthday of previous King Birendra Bir Bikram Sha Dev :-
The suspicious birthday of His Majesty King Birendra Bir
Bikram Shah Deve falls on December 28/29 ( Push 14th). This
occasion is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over the
Prithivi Jayanti :- This
festival is celebrated in honor of King Prithvi Narayan
Shah, the founder of Modern Nepal, with a colorful ceremony
in front of the Singh Durbar Gate in Kathmandu on
Losar :- It is one of
the greatest festivals of significant importance to the
Sherpas and peoples of Tibetan origin. It is celebrated
every year in February. The focus of this festival centers
around the celebration of the Tibetan New Year. Many fascinating
rituals and celebrations may be observed in Boudha and in
Tibetan settlements such as the Tibetan Refugee Camp at
National Democracy Day :- This day is officially observed
as Rastriya Prajatantra Divas or National Democracy Day
( it generally falls on February 18th i.e. 7th of Phalgun
as a mark of respect ot people’s revolution of 1950
Shiva Ratri :- Shivaratri
or the night of Lord Shiva, is observed in March. It is
celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair
takes places in the Pashupatinath Tmple and thousands of
people from all over Nepal and India visit the temple.
Ghodejatra :- Known
as the festival of horses, it is one of the most exciting
festivals of the Kathmandu city. Horse race and other sports
take place at Tundikhel on this day.
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