of joyful and colorful festivals nearly all the year round’
MAJOR FESTIVALS OF NEPAL OVERVIEWS :
Twelve major festivals of
Nepal, for a small Himalayan country, is also one of the richest countries in
the world. In terms of great amazing bio-diversity due to its unique
geographical position and altitude variation. Where the altitude ranges from 60
m above sea level to the highest point Mt. Everest at 8,848.86 m.
All within the distance of
150 km resulting in climatic changes from Sub-tropical-alpine to the
Where more than 60 different
tribal groups and 70 native languages are spoken, a blend of both Hindu and
Buddhism religions. This makes Nepal one of the most unique countries, one can
find temples and monasteries facing close side by side.
Although nearly 75 % is
populated by Hinduism with 20 % Buddhism and the rest with a minority of
Christian, Islamic, and Jainism. The major festivals celebrated in Nepal are more of Hindu
religion and culture. Followed by Buddhist religious festivals held around the
high Himalayan hills and mountainous regions.
12 major festivals of Nepal,
one of the joyous events for all Nepalese having public holidays for
celebrations. Various occasions festivals and religious events are celebrated
across the country, as per the community wise.
Most festivals are held
around public hot spots, and some big events are celebrated among families and
relatives. But all festivals are great occasions that extend from a day to a
week as per the Nepalese Lunar calendar.
Nepal has four main seasons
spring from March to May, and autumn or fall starts from September to November.
Winter begins from December to February, when all 12 major festivals take nearly
all seasons of the year.
01: INDRA JATRA:
Worship is dedicated to the
god of rains for yielding good harvest, which is a week-long event during the
Indra Jatra festival. Takes place in September months as per the Nepali and
Hindu Lunar calendars). The main event of Indra Jatra, a major festival takes
place within the three main cities of Kathmandu valley.
The center of Kathmandu city
begins by hoisting Lord Indri’s flag (Indra-Dhoj) at midnight, worship of
Bhairava’s deities which are displayed in major public places.
Indra the king of heaven and
rains, at the end of monsoon wet times farmer’s hopes for a rich harvest. Where
all Nepalese praise the god of rain for help and support to yield a good
harvest of crops.
For a week, Kathmandu’s main
Durbar Square / old palace courtyard is the main focus of the celebration. In
honor of the “King of Heaven” or Indra-Dhoj, or flag, is hoisted on the first
day. The belief is that, for hundreds of centuries, Indri’s mother needed
special scented flowers. But could not find them in the garden of heaven, then
Indra discovered Parijat (gladiolus) flowers around Kathmandu Valley. Which he
picked for his mother's behalf, but he was caught and imprisoned by the
Kathmandu valley people.
When Indri’s mother came
searching for her son the people regretted what they had done. So they
released Indra and dedicated the festival in respect to appease Indri’s anger.
Masks and statues representing Vishnu, Bhairab, and Shiva are shown to the public
and Goddess Kumari. The Living goddess observes the festival from her chariot,
a lively event, and occasion to observe.
02: DASHAIN / DASHERA:
The main and major festivals
of Nepal, it is rather national occasion than religious event. Which lasts for
more than a week till the dawn of Full Moon time, but the people
get busy. For a month time preparing for the big event of Dashain or
The festival begins in late
September or in October as per the Nepal Hindu Lunar calendar. Dashain is the
longest and most important festival for all Nepalese.
All people stay at home with
their families for the main big events of Dashain.
The perfect time, when
colorful Kites decorate the clear blue sky every shops and market are crowded.
Where farmers and villagers bring their goats, buffaloes, ducks, and chickens
The domestic animals are
sacrificed on the night of ‘Kala Ratri’ in respect to goddess Durga celebrating
the victory over evils.
On the main auspicious day of
Dashain, everyone in new attire pays homage to the elder person of the family
members. The younger generations receive a blessing with ‘Tika’ uncooked rice
mixed with curd makes a paste to stick on the foreheads. Where the elder person
of the family also presents with some cash along with the blessing.
In the following days of the
Dashain, families, and friends unites, and celebrate with large feasts. Gets
blessing with gifts, a major occasion for Nepalese and the most beloved
festival that ends in a full moon.
03: TIHAR / DIWALI (festival
Another major and important
festival in Nepal, especially for Hindu worshippers, is held at the end of
October or early November.
The Hindu Lunar calendar
marks special auspicious occasions.
Tihar or Diwali is the second
big and major festival for all Hindu Nepalese, which is also called the
festival of lights. The night glitter with candle lights and oil lamps, as well
as tinsel decorations and festive colored sweets.
The three different days are
celebrated offerings to animals and birds.
The first is crow day, the
second a dog’s day, and the third main event is cows and oxen days.
On the night of the 3rd, the
cow’s day is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi, where every house performs a prayer.
The balcony and houses are decorated with garlands and bright lamps to welcome
the goddess Laxmi for wealth and fortune.
At the same time, the native
Newar of Kathmandu valley celebrates an event called Maha Puja, or New Year’s
Day. Related to the Nepal Era, also falls on the days of Tihar.
The last day of Tihar is
celebrated with Bhai Tika, the brothers' blessing day which is the end of
Tihar. The ritual of breaking wall nuts, offering garlands by sisters to their
brothers, a blessing against Evil and Bad omens.
The festival of Tihar is
marked by boys and girls visiting every house in the neighborhood singing and
dancing. In return receives cash and some food and fruits to mark the
auspicious night of Tihar.
04: MAGHE SANKRANTI:
Maghe Sankranti is celebrated
during the cold winter month of mid-January as per the Hindu Lunar calendar. A
celebration of the harvest festival, most Nepalese of Hindu religion take a dip
in the rivers and ponds. Worship of Sun God especially, the holy dip and bathe
is to purify the self and bestow from sins.
Special puja is performed as
thanksgiving for a good harvest. Where Nepalese consume
underground edible plant roots.
05: SHIVA RATRI:
Shiva Ratri is a celebration
of Lord Shiva's birth anniversary, which falls with the end of the winter
months in mid-February. Sometimes takes place in the first week of March as per
the Hindu calendar, a religious celebration for all Hindus.
The main event of Maha Shiva
Ratri, or the night of Shiva, is known as the god of destruction. The worship
and prayer are observed in the Hindu holy temple of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu.
As well as in other Shiva temples around the country, where a public holiday is
Lord Shiva, is one of Hindu's
most popular god. During Maha Shivaratri, "Great Night". Followers throughout
the Indian sub-continent crowd the Pashupatinath temple for worship and
The devotees pray to Shiva's
image inside the temple at midnight and in long queues. For all day to catch
the glimpse of Lord Shiva's image, which is a statue of a Phallus. Bonfires are
lit around the neighborhood, where friends and relatives share food, and people
enjoy two nights with music, song, and dances throughout the Pashupatinath
complex and on the streets.
06: HOLI (Fagu Purnima) The
festival of colors:
The Holi is the festival of
colors, which is also to welcome the spring seasons after a cold winter. Held
in March or April as per the Hindu calendar, marking the end of winter. To
rejoice over the start of a fresh season of springtime, one of the best and
perfect seasons to celebrate. Where all Nepalese play with different colored
powder and waters among each other, which is also making friends.
After being separated by
wrongdoings and uniting all people of the neighborhood, friends, and families.
07: NEPAL’S NEW YEAR DAY -
Bikram Sambat around April months:
Nepalese New Year is unique
to the Gregorian calendar, in Nepal, the New Year is observed in the middle of
April. Which is called Bikram Sambat 57 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar,
alongside Nepal Sambat. It is one of the two official calendars used in Nepal.
A day is observed wonderfully with pomp and ceremony with public holidays.
Musical and sports events are organized to mark the Nepalese New Year's day of
08: RAM NAWAMI / CHAITA
Celebrated the victory over
evils, as per the epic story of Ramayana who defeated Rawan. The celebration
fall on April observed as a sacred day on which Lord Rama. Who incarnated on
this earth to do away with the evils, devotees keep fasting and worship the
lord Rama. Which is also the time of Nepalese Chaita Dashain in honor of good
over evils. A long time ago, it was a major Dashain, due to the wrong time of
summer to celebrate. The Dashain was shifted to the autumn season, but still
Nepalese observe the festival events.
09: BUDDHA JAYANTI:
Buddha Jayanti marks the
birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, known as the ‘Light of Asia’. Falls around
May, the ever benevolent Lord Buddha was born in Nepal.
Which is the day and night of
the full moon, the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and salvation are celebrated
throughout the country. The day with a public holiday to visit and pay homage
to monasteries and religious sites of Buddha. Swayambhunath and Bouddhanath
Stupas are prepared for the oncoming festivities several days in advance.
10: JANAI PURNIMA & GHAI
A great Ghai Jatra is
celebrated among the Newar community of Kathmandu valley. Held in monsoon time
of August as per the Hindu calendar, a colorful religious procession of cows
and people in weird attire dressed as clowns, painted figures of cows with a
procession around the market places.
Relatives of the deceased
send religious groups to join the procession. The ‘Ghai’ or cow is holy to
Hindus. She represents Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, and guides the souls of
the departed to the gates of Heaven / Paradise.
Ghai Jatra is also full of
satire, jokes, fancy costumes, and colorful processions are the event of the
day. The story and history recall 18th-century king rallied his people to cheer
and bring a smile to his queen. Upon the death of their son.
The Janai Purnima celebration
for all Hindu people, change of holy threads where pilgrims and devotees visit
holy sites. Especially around the Himalayas, glacial ponds are regarded as
sacred. The most important holy site for Jani Purnima or the full moon is
Gosainkunda pond around Langtang Himal range.
Thousands of pilgrims and
devotees visit for a holy dip and a bath to cleanse the sin of a hundred
lifetime. At the same menfolk changes their holy threads into a new one, which
is the restriction from wrongdoings.
11: SHREE KRISHNA JANAM
A celebration of Lord
Krishna's birth anniversary, which falls in July or August as per the Hindu
calendar. A public holiday to celebrate and visit the Hindu temple of Lord
Krishna, especially in Patan / Lalitpur city. Stands a beautiful old
8th-century Krishna temple, where the crowd gathers for worship and
The Hindus observe it by
remaining awake the whole night performing religious dances and singing in the
praise of Lord Krishna.
12: TEEJ – FESTIVAL FOR
Although a Hindu festival, it
is more important to Nepalese women and young teenage girls. Celebrated across
the country for three days having a great feast and fasting at the end of the
The event falls in August as
per the Hindu calendar, Teej is the fasting festival of women in Nepal. Married
women observe Teej by fasting in honor of Lord Shiva and for the long and
healthy life of their husbands.
Unmarried girls also observe
fast the day to get the right choice of husband. Traditional dances and songs
make an important feature of Teej celebrations.
The red color is considered
auspicious for women observing Teej and so most of them dress up in red or