Festivals of Nepal
is said about Nepal that every other structure is a holy shrine and every other
day a festival. Well, if the number of annual festivals, both religious and
national, is any indication, the saying couldn't be more true. Festivals are
an essential part of Nepalese life that garner tremendous local participation.
Festivals also offer visitors a valuable opportunity not only for having fun
but gaining insight into various aspects of Nepalese culture. The religious
festivals follow the lunar calendar, while national festivals have fixed dates.
Wherever or whenever you arrive in Nepal, you can be pretty sure of being at
the right time for one or more special events. Some of the major and interesting
festivals are presented below.
Maha Shivaratri: Shivratri or the Night of Lord Shiva is observed in February-March.
It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair takes place
in the Pashupatinath Temple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and
India flock the temple to worship Lord Shiva.
MARCH - APRIL:
Ghodejatra: Known as the festival of horses, it is one of the most exciting
festivals of Kathmandu. Horse race and other sports take place at Tundikhel
on this day. In other parts of the city, various deities are carried shoulder-high
on palanquin (khat) to the accompaniment of traditional music.
Baisakh Poornima: As Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the Light of Asia,
the triple anniversary of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death is observed
with many colorful ceremonies on this day. People celebrate the occasion with
great veneration paying homage to Buddha at place like swayambhunath, Bouddhanath
MAY - JUNE:
Machchhenhranath Rath Jatra: This festival is the biggest socio-cultural event
of Patan. The wheeled chariot of a deity know as Bungdyo or Red Machchhendranath
is made at Pulchowk and dragged through the city of Patan in several stages
till it reaches the appointed destination (lagankhel). The grand finale of the
festival is called the 'Bhoto Dekhaune' or the "showing of a vest".
A similar kind of chariot festival to Machchhendranath (white) is also held
in Kathmandu city in the month of March-April.
Dumji: It is celebrate in all the Shepra settlements in the month of July. The
Sherpas of Kathmandu and Helambu regions participate in dancing on this day.
JULY - AUGUST:
Gaijatra (Cow festival): It is a carnival that lasts eight days. Dancing, singing
comedy and anything that causes mirth and laugher are its highlights. This festival
is the biggest socio-cultural event of Patan. The wheeled chariot of a deity
know as Bungdyo or Red Machchhendranath is made at Pulchowk and dragged through
the city of Patan in several stages till it reaches the appointed destination
(lagankhel). The grand finale of the festival is called the 'Bhoto Dekhaune'
or the "showing of a vest". A similar kind of chariot festival to
Machchhendranath (white) is also held in Kathmandu city in the month of March-April.
Birthday of His Majesty the King: The auspicious birthday of His majesty King
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev falls on July 7 (Asad 23) . This occasion is celebrate
with great enthusiasm all over the kingdom.
AUGUST - SEPTEMBER:
Teej is a Hindu festival celebrated by women. Dancing, folk song and the red
colour of women's wedding saris dominate the days of Teej. Women observe a fast
and flock to Shiva temples where married ones prays for a happy conjugal life
and unmarried ones for a good husband.
SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER:
Dashain or Durga Puja: The Dashain festival is the most important festival of
the Nepalese. The entire country is in enthusiastic holiday mood at the time
of the festival.
NOVEMBER - DECEMBER:
Vibhaha Panchami: This is a famous festival of Janakpur in the eastern Terai.
The occasion commemorates the marriage of Sita to Ram, one of the most venerated
Hindu divinities. It attracts thousands of piligrims from India to Janaki Temple
National Democracy Day: This day is officially observed as Rastriya Prajatantra
Divas or National Democracy Day as a mark of respect to the People's Revolution
of 1950-51. It generally falls on Febrary 18, i.e. Phalgun7.
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