Nepal is the land where raw, untouched, natural beauty mingles seamlessly with the deep spiritual vibe creating an atmosphere of sheer tranquility and thrill. Festivals in Nepal are a spectacle to behold complete with a sense of oneness and vibrancy. The Nepali folks are known for being in very close touch with their roots and preserving their heritage and culture. This can be seen, felt and experienced through their incredibly colorful and wholesome festivals and fairs.
Here are some of the popular as well as lesser-known festivals and fairs celebrated in Nepal:
This folk festival of Nepal takes place in between the months of September and October during the Shukla Paksha period and ends on the day of full moon. This is the time when believers and devotees of the lord clean their houses and get rid of clutter since they believe that the goddess will pay their house a visit. As a part of the culture, people prepare animals like lambs, chickens, ducks, and buffalos for slaughter as an offering for the deity. The entire country remains doused with a deep sense of celebration which shuts down all businesses and people go to their relative’s and friend’s place to have the best festivities of their lives. Another interesting tradition followed by the people here is kite flying, where everyone participates with an am f asking the Lord to send more rain for a prosperous harvest. These 10 days of elaborate and fun-filled festivities can be related to the Navratri festival that takes place with great vigor in India.
Nepal is a land where some major parts of the population and even the visitors are Buddhists. The entire region is dotted with numerous age-old and new monasteries marking its significance. It is also in Nepal at Lumbini that Gautam Buddha was born to the king then and had spent a major part of his life here as a prince, before heading off looking for his enlightenment. This day is celebrated as and an ode to the birthday of Buddha and is a grand countrywide celebration where all the monasteries and temples hold special prayers and colorful festivities take place throughout the day. This day takes place in May during the summer season and in Nepal, this day is declared as a public holiday as everyone remains busy with honoring their religious leader. If you happen to be in Nepal during this time then you cannot only find the celebration taking place all around you but also go to holy places like monkey temple and Boudhanath temple.
This particular festival is probably one of the most awaited time of the year among the people of Nepal. Famous for being the Nepali New Year and celebrated around the 2nd week of April, during this festival a massive rally or Yatra is arranged in the Bhaktapur region of Nepal. It is undoubtedly one of the main festivals of this wonderful hill town that is linked to a very interesting historical and mythological account. Also referred to as the Bisyau Jatra or the slaying of the serpents, this particular ceremony signifies the end of all the serpents i.e. negativity and bad omen. One of the most interesting activities that take place on this eve is the huge tug of war in the durbar square which is as interesting and fun-filled as it sounds. What marks the commencement of the New Year in the country is the raising of a huge pole from the river that is symbolic for the Lingum with the help of the local crowd.
Popular for being a woman – only festival celebrated by married as well as unmarried women and girls. It is said that performing prayers and worshiping Lord Shiva during this auspicious day increases the life expectancy of married women’s husbands whereas unmarried women pray to get the man of their dreams and an eligible husband. This festival takes place over a duration of 3 holy days during the Bhadra month as per the lunar calendar followed in Nepal. The 1sat day of the puja involves women gorging on delicious and large portions of food referred to as Dar Khana. The 2nd day is when the day-long fasting takes place where women cannot even drink water or eat any kind of food while wearing red clothes as an ode to their married life. Goddess Parvati is worshipped during the 3rd and final day of the Teej when the women break their fast by consuming a delicious breakfast of Chokho, Karkalo Ki Tarkari, etc. made in pure ghee.
If you thought that the festivities after the Dashain festival is over then you are mistaken. Tihar festival is a wonderful 5 days of complete celebration that takes place just after the Dashain celebration. Generally referred to as the festival of lights (just like Diwali in India) people decorate their houses with candles and lamps followed by an elaborate puja ritual performed in the honor of goddess Lakshmi. All these candles and various lights are also lit up in front of the idol of the goddess. This lighting of the candles is symbolic of the commencement of bright and positive days and the complete ending of the bygone evil days. The locals of Nepal are known for being animal lovers and respectful towards nature which is clear due to the fact that during the first 2 days along with goddess Laxmi, people also worship crows, dogs, and cows on the 3rd day and finally one the 4th day they worship oxen.
If possible you should plan your holiday around the time of these incredibly colorful and fun-filled festivals. There are many more festivals for people to look forward to like Mahashivratri, Lhosar, Indra Jatra, holy or Phagun, etc. you will be overcome with a deeply cultural feeling of oneness and brotherhood and you shall be left with a lifetime worth of memories.