Nepal is known for its distinct culture and bright, vivid festivals, in addition to the beauty of the Himalayas and plenty of natural resources. Despite its short size, the Himalayan nation is home to a diverse population of nationalities and ethnicities, each with its own traditions and celebrations. The majority of Nepalese festivals have religious overtones, and some are based on significant events from ancient mythology and epic literature.
The vibrant cultural diversity of Nepal may be seen in the various festivals held around the country. Here are ten significant festivals in Nepal to give you a better idea of the country’s variety.
DASHAIN (Bijaya Dashami):
Dashain is Nepal’s largest and longest festival. This festival is usually held in the months of September or October and lasts for 15 days. The first, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth days are the most important of the 15 days that are commemorated. This celebration is also recognized for putting a strong emphasis on family gatherings and rekindling communal bonds. People travel from all over the world, as well as from different regions of the country, to join in the celebration.
• Ghatasthapana “Sowing Holy Jamara at Dashain Ghar”
• Fulpati “Presenting Sacred Flowers water, banana stalks”
• Maha Asthami “Worship and sacrifice to Durga and Kali”
• Maha Navami / Kal Ratri “Visiting Taleju Temple”
• Vijaya Dashami “Receiving Tika from the elder relatives”
• Kojagrata Purnima (who is awake) “Worshiping the goddess of wealth”
TIHAR (Festival of Lights):
Tihar, commonly known as Deepawali, is a Hindu festival of lights. After Dashain, Tihar is the second most important Nepalese celebration. Every year in October or early November, the celebrations are held for five days. Kag Tihar is the first of the five festivals, which are followed by Kukur Tihar, Laxmi Puja, Goverdhan Puja, and Bhai Tika.
• Kaag Tihar “Crow worship is believed to bring good luck to people’s homes”
• Kukur Tihar “Serve tasty meals to dogs” the beloved human-canine relationship”
• Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja “Cow worship in the morning and Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth, in the evening
• Goverdan Puja “Goru Tihar or Goru Puja” (worship of the oxen)”
• Bhai Tika “Sister’s wish for her brother’s long life/brothers and sisters’ close friendship”
TEEJ (Festival of Women):
Teej, also known as Haritalika Teej, is a three-day holiday celebrated by women. Hindu Nepali women all across the world commemorate this event. During this event, women pray to Lord Shiva for particular blessings in order to get a wonderful husband in their lives. Teej is honored by ladies for her husband’s long life and their long and strong relationship in this life and in the lifetimes to come.
• Festival honoring Goddess Parvati and her marriage to Lord Shiva.
• Day 01: Dar Khane Din “Women are given complete freedom of expression, and they begin to dance, eat, and sing devotional melodies.”
• Day 02: Fasting Day “Women go without food and drink in the hopes of finding a suitable husband.”
• Day 03: Rishi Panchami “They pay tribute to seven saints, pray to deities, and bathe in the red mud found on the roots and leaves of the sacred datiwan bush.
Buddha Jayanti (Birth of lord Buddha):
The Lord Buddha’s birthday, Buddha Jayanti, is commemorated. Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal, in 623 BC as a prince of the Shakya dynasty. Lumbini is currently part of the Kapilvastu district. Nepal commemorates Buddha Jayanti as one of its major holidays since it is the birthplace of Buddha. It occurs on the night of the full moon in either May or June. On this auspicious day, peace lovers and Buddhists flock to Lumbini, Nepal, to pay their respects to Buddha’s birthplace. On Buddha Jayanti, Buddhist monasteries, chaityas, and gumbas are also decorated and crowded with many people.
• Visit Lumbing, birth place fo Lord Buddha
• Celebrate the life of Lord Buddha at two great stupas Swyambhunath, Boudhanath
Gai Jatra (Cow Festival):
The cow carnival is referred to as Gai Jatra. However, the celebration is held to remember loved ones who have died. To march along the street, people sing, dance, and dress up like cows. It is an event held to help people cope with the loss of a loved one.
Gai Jatra has its origins in Nepal under the reign of The Malla. According to legend, when a Malla queen was grieving the loss of her son, the king sent out a procession of people who had lost loved ones to show the queen that she was not alone. Gai Jatra has become one of Nepal’s most popular events since then. It is mostly observed by the Newar community. The festival, on the other hand, is well-known across the country.
• Worshiped Yamaraj, the god of death
• Cow procession, drum music, masked dances at Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan & Kirtipur.
• Experience Nepali traditional singing, stick dancing, unique comedy.
In Nepal, Janai Purnima is a prominent celebration. On this auspicious full moon day, Hindu males renew their holy thread known as ‘Janai,’ which is known as Janai Purnima. People also go to Shiva temples, and a large Mela is conducted in various holy spots, such as Gisaikunda near Rasuwa, which attracts a large number of devotees.
Apart from that, families get together to eat sprout lentils, which are known in Nepali as ‘Kwati.’ Rakshya Bandhan, a rite in which sisters tie a thread on their brother’s hand and get presents, is also part of Janai Purnima. However, there is a deeper purpose to the practice; it is a celebration and prayer to deepen the love and respect between sisters and brothers.
Maha Shiva Ratri:
The Maha Shivaratri festival honors Lord Shiva. Every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar has a Shivaratri on the 13th night/14th day of the month (February). People who fast on this night and pray to Lord Shiva are said to bring good fortune into their lives. People travel from all over the world to pray at Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath temple during these festivities.
• Visit Pashupatinath temple, one of the major centers of pilgrimage for Hindus
• Visit Aghora/ Sadhus/ Sanyasi in Pashupatinath Temple during Shivaratri
• To see Sadhu dressed as Lord Shiva at the Maha Shivaratri in Pashupatinath
Indra Jatra is Kathmandu, Nepal’s largest religious street celebration. The Newars also refer to it as “Yenya.” Indra is a Hindu god who is the Lord of Rain and the King of Heaven. Indra Jatra is a Hindu and Buddhist event celebrated by both Hindus and Buddhists. It is a Nepalese dance festival that lasts eight days. Kathmandu Durbar Square is the main location for the celebrations.
• Visit Living Goddess Kumari, hanuman dhoka Kathmandu
• Visit anent city of Kathmandu valley.
Holi (Festival of Colors):
Fagun Purnima, popularly known as Holi, is named after the mythical demon Holika. Holi, like many other Nepalese celebrations, is based on Hindu mythology. It begins the triumph of good over evil. According to mythology, Prahalad, a young child, was a follower of Lord Bishnu, whom his father, demon king Mahisasur, regarded as a fatal adversary. The demon king, enraged, ordered his sister Holika, who had been endowed with fire immunity, to murder his own son. After that, Holika, who was sitting on fire carrying Prahalad, died in the flames but the boy survived.
People play Holi, a festival of colors, pleasure, and happiness, to commemorate the miracle. Holi is a Hindu festival that takes place in late February or early March. Holi has been increasingly popular among travelers in recent years.
LHOSAR (Tibetan New Year):
Losar is a Tibetan Buddhist feast. Sherpa, Gurung, Tamang, Magar, Thakali, Manange, Helmuli, and Tibetans are the main participants in this festival. It is observed in February; however, the exact date varies according to the lunar calendar each year.
• Explore the traditions and customs of Tibetan culture
• Celebrations Tibetan new year
• Visit Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Nepal