Festivals in Nepal and its Celebation Dates
Festivals in Nepal are an essential part of people’s lives, and almost every month has at least one or more festivals. People in Nepal enjoy the festivals with enthusiasm and religious flavor. Festivals in Nepal are one way to express people’s emotions and celebrate culture and tradition.
Festivals are the chance to rejoice in special moments with our family and loved ones. Earlier festivals celebrate to pass the legends, knowledge, and tradition to our coming generations. But nowadays, festivals are mostly taken as a break or a distraction from our day-to-day, exhausting routine of life.
People also say that Nepal has more temples than houses, more gods and goddesses than people, and more festivals than days in a year. Being a secular country, Nepal is famous for its religious festivals. People celebrate each of the festivals spiritually.
Rejoicing the Festival with people increases belongingness among them. Hosting or attending a feast during festivals is standard for reveling festivals in Nepal. Though festivals in Nepal are eminent by all people, the rituals and beliefs of the same Festival may differ from each culture.
Why are festivals important in Nepal?
Nepali people are among the most social people in the world. A person’s social interaction with their fellow people not only defines happiness but also helps to grow their capacity to learn about other cultures and traditions. The people of Nepal are known for their peaceful, harmonious behaviors all around the world.
Nepal’s social and cultural heritage measures customs, traditions, moral values, attitudes, festivals, and beliefs. This culture and etiquette are coming from one generation to another. Nepal’s festivals are celebrated with ancient times’ social and economic situation.
In today’s busy and chaotic times, happiness is mainly overshadowed by negativity and technology. So, people in Nepal consider the Festival a time to bring positivity and enjoyment to themselves. Thus, the Festival is the chance to forget all the pain and worries and enjoy the positive side of life with their loved ones.
Festivals are a stress buster for Nepal’s people, in Nepal, which helps to balance their emotions. Moreover, Nepali festivals also provide an incredible opportunity to decrease friction and bring friends and relatives together in a bond of love.
Festivals have been the opportunity to bring people together. Festivals in Nepal depend upon the religion of the people. For example, Hindu people celebrate Dashain and Tihar, Muslims celebrate Eid, and Christians celebrate Christmas.
Being an agricultural country, many festivals are based on agriculture. That Festival that depends on agriculture is often called the harvesting festival. Harvesting festivals are Eid, Diwali, and Maghe Sangrati. These festivals fall at the time of harvesting things like rice and potatoes.
Celebration of Festival and its Importance
Festivals are a way to increase relationships among family members. Festivals in Nepal are a chance to widen the culture and tradition of the group of people to the entire world. As Nepali people living in foreign countries, introduce the festivals among foreign nations. People can share their thoughts about problems and ways to solve them. The Festival is a time of spreading positivity and having a great time with relatives and family.
In addition to this, festivals also cure people’s mental health. The elders’ blessing is essential to celebrating the Nepal festival. Festival helps to build and increase social and cultural relationships among people.
Technology and modernization have increased the pop culture in Nepal, so festivals are a way of saving our tradition and legacy of the ancient Nepali culture. Festival time is the time to refresh our minds and lives. During festivals, people forget all their tensions and enjoy themselves with their families.
Types of Festivals Famous in Nepal
• National FestivalThe festivals that help us connect with our country are the national festivals. The national Festival reminds all the country’s citizens about their duty toward their nation. All kinds of people in the country, including Hindus and Muslims, celebrate the National Festival.
This type of Festival is enjoyed with great enthusiasm and excitement. Some national festivals in Nepal are Constitution Day, Martyr’s Day, Buddha Jayanti, etc., celebrated nationwide. Formal programs and rallies are primarily held during these national festivals.
• Religious festivals
A religious festival in Nepal is a festival whose celebration occurs among a particular religious group. For example, people of the Hindu region celebrate Dashain and Tihar; in contrast, Muslim people celebrate Eid. The main motive of religious festivals is to make people learn the principles and ethics of the religion. Although these kinds differ from each religion, in Nepal, people of all faiths celebrate various festivals. During these festivals, people thank and worship their significant god.
• Season festivals
Seasonal festivals in Nepal fall at a particular time of the year. Seasonal festivals are significant as they relate to ancient people and occupations. Season festivals are often referring as the harvesting festival. People of all religions celebrate these festivals with great excitement.
Due to modernization, people of one country celebrate the seasonal festivals of another country. Basanta Panchami, Holi, Maghe Sakrati, Aausi, etc, are examples of the seasonal festivals celebrated in Nepal. Seasonal festivals inform the upcoming season or the end of the last season. For instance- Holi is the Festival of Color and is observed during Faguln, which signifies the end of the winter season and welcomes the bright summer days.
Dance and shows during festivals
There are different forms of dance in Nepali culture. Every ethnic group in Nepal has a unique dance form. During the Festival, each group enjoys performing their significant dance forms. You will get to observe the dance and artwork of the people during festivals. The exciting thing about celebrating festivals in Nepal is that, although the Festival is the same among all the communities, the way of celebration and the rituals differ from community to community. Festivals are enjoyable, and people enjoy the Festival by dancing.
Different functions or shows are held in other parts of our country to show the variety of dance and culture. For example, in Nepal’s new year, another formal program is maintained throughout the country. Each community group performs their dance in that program and shows their culture. You can also take part in the cultural shows. The dance form of Newar people is called Bihu. Similarly, Tharu, marumi, Tamang, and classical are dance forms performed in Nepal.
Music is also one of the ways to show our emotions during the Festival. Nepali folk music is very famous. You can observe Nepalese folk music during programs and festivals. The instruments used for playing folk music are handmade and traditional. Some of my favorite musical instruments are Madal, sarangi, and Bansuri.
These musical instruments add traditional spice to the music. The most famous form of music in Nepal is Khaijadi and Dohori. These forms of music were used as the mesa of expressing emotions among one another. People play this music during festivals.
Another critical component of celebrating the Festival is the feast. People organize a feast at every Festival. The feast is the means of getting close with the family and friends. During festivals in Nepal, people invite relatives and friends for a feast. People cook a variety of food during the Festival.
Many of the festivals in Nepal have their particular types of food. Maple people during Dashain and Tihar mainly eat meat; during Maghe Sankranti, they eat Khir; and during Janai Purnima, they eat beans. Gifts are also part of celebrating the Festival while going to the feast; people bring gifts and fruits.
List of festivals in Nepal
Every notable Festival in Nepal has its significance and different rights and rituals. According to Hindu mythology, each day of the week has its own story and reasons. Moreover, other religions in our country, like Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism, have festivals related to their beliefs and culture. There are some mythological events and rituals performed in every Festival, but mostly, Nepali people celebrate every happy movement as a festival. Festivals make our lives more interesting and exciting. It is the time when family and relatives get together and share happiness.
Maghe Sankranti festival in Nepal
During this month, the ray of the sun is reflected in the southern hemisphere, and the temperature begins to rise earlier. People celebrate this Festival to thank god for his efforts and for giving lives to people. On this day, people take a holy bath near the rivers early in the morning. People also say bathing at the sacred river on this day will wash and remove sin from life. People read Bhagwat Gita on the day and sing holy songs.
Similarly, people mainly eat Yams(Darul), Til ko laddu (a sweet made of sesame), and sugarcane paste. During this Festival in Nepal, people go to their relatives’ houses and attend a feast. People also travel to temples and religious sites on the day of Maghe Sankranti, especially Devghat.
People celebrate Lhosar by hosting feasts, family visits, and dancing. People wear new clothes and congratulate each other. They also exchange gifts and eat a variety of foods and enjoy. People who follow Buddhism go to monasteries and pray to Lord Buddha for life and health. Buddhist people of the Himalayan region celebrate Lhosar as their main Festival. They also hold many programs during Lhosar. The roads and houses of people are decorated with Buddhist flags.
People near Kathmandu visit Sywambhu and Bauddhanth stupa. There is a tradition where people throw Tsamop, made up of roasted barley flour, in the air. There are different types of Lhosar that Buddhist people celebrate: – Sonam Lhosar, Galpyo Lhosar, and Tamu Lhosar. Each Lhosar has another Significance and is marked by a diverse group of Buddhist people.
Basanta Panchami (Shree Panchami)
Children or students mostly celebrate this Festival. Buddhist people worship the God Manjushree on this day. People in ancient times celebrate Shree Panchami as the announcement of the beginning of the spring season. Basanta Panchami is also a special day for getting married. In ancient times, Hindu boys were given their first initiation for learning on this day. That is why teaching children the first alphabet is considered very good.
Today, people mostly visit Human Doka and Patan to flock to the Kunda. This Festival mainly falls on the month of Bishak Shree Panchami, when people celebrate education. These days, people have started giving free education to children who do not have access to school and college.
Maha Shivaratri Festivals in Nepal
If you visit Nepal during Shivaratri, you must visit the Pashupatinath temple. During these festivals in Nepal, devotees wake up early in the morning and bathe. They see the Shiva mandir near their house and worship lord shiva. On this day, Pashupatinath temple is decorated, and more than 50k people visit it. You can see many sadhus and devotees singing and dancing.
People often fast during this day and eat in the evening after worshipping Shiva again. People enjoy burnfire in different places, especially in Nepal, on the day of the Shivaratri festival. Children enjoy Shivaratri by standing on the road with a long rope to stop the vehicles and getting money from them.
Falgun Poornima (Holi)
Holi is another famous and exciting festival in Nepal celebrating in Nepal. Today, people enjoy playing with each other by putting on colors and playing with water. Holi is celebrating the death of the demon Holika. Holika was the devil with the wicked leg.
But she was blessed by Lord Vishnu to be unburnt. She then tried to kill her nephew, who was three great admirers of lord Vishnu. So, she took her nephew in her lap and sat on fire. Lord Vishnu killed Holika instead for being a demon and trying to kill the innocent child. Since then, Holi has been celebrated as the Festival of color and enjoinment.
Holi falls on the Nepali month Falgun, also called the Falgun Purnima. People also visit different places and enjoy themselves during Holi. Holi in Nepal is celebrated on two additional days: the first day in the Himalayan and Hilly region and the second day in the Terai region. People tend to drink Bhang and dance on the day of Holi.
Bisket Jatra Festivals in Nepal
Bisket Jatra is a typical Newari festival that mainly falls on the month of Bishak and Chait. This Festival is celebrated primarily in Bhaktapur for four days. Bisket Jatra is the Newari people’s new year. Rath’s small wooden temple is lifted and moved around the city. People offer blood, meat, flowers, and coins to god.
People drink rice beer, eat meats, and drag chariots across the streets of Bhaktapur. Mostly, youth pull the chariots during the day, and wherever the rathe stops, they light the lamp. After that, devotees run and overflow into the surroundings.
Along with the main, all other gods are also put into the wooden palanquins. Bhaktapur’s people come to see this Jatra—people celebrate Bisket Jatra with outstanding energy and excitement.
We all know that Mother’s Day is Nepal’s most critical and exciting Festival. Nepali and International Mother’s Day falls on two different dates. Nowadays, people buy different kinds of goods for their mothers and do many things to impress them. This Festival is referred to as the “locking at mother’s face” by Nepalis.
The daughter and son celebrate this day with their mother and loved ones. The Nepali style of celebrating Mother’s Day is by putting a tika on their mother’s forehead and giving them many gifts. Matha Tirtha is a special kind of Mela organized on this day.
As Gautam was born in Nepal, the festivals in Nepal are celebrated by all the Nepalese, whether they are Hindus or Buddhists. Buddha Jayanti is the day Siddhartha Gautam, aka Gautam Buddha, was born. Lumbini, which is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, this day is essential.
Buddhist monks persuasions this day fully and go through all the Buddhist places. On the honor of Lord Buddha. On the birthday of Lord Buddha, people from different rallies, social events, or charity events. Gautam Buddha is famous for his good works and spreading happiness among people, so people do charity events on this day. You can also visit Swayambunath and Baudhanatha stupa during this day.
Most of Nepal’s Festivals are based on the sacrifice of animals in ancient times. On Nag Panchami, the Nepali people worship the god of the serpent. Nag Panchami is an essential day for Astrology and horoscopes. People celebrate Nag Panchami in the month of Shrawan due to rainfall and high-temperature snakes coming out from their hibernation.
On this day, people offer milk to the snakes. The history of Nag Panchami is when Lord Krishna killed the snake and saved all the villagers on this day. That is why Nepalese people worship the photos of the snake and paste them on the gateway of their house.
Janai Purnima (Rakshya Bandhan)
Janai Purnima is an essential festival for Nepal Hindus that falls on the month of Ashar and Shrawan.
Brahmins mainly celebrate this Festival on the full moon. The word Janai is the Nepali word, which is the sacred thread. Nepali men wear this thread or Janai on their bodies and chests with some rituals. On the Janai Purnima, women and children visit the temples and wear the holy thread (primarily red and yellow) on their wrists.
On the day of Janai Purnima, people also celebrate Rakshya Bandhan. This is the Festival when people celebrate the relationship between brother and sister. Sister makes their brothers wear the thread on their brothers’ Wrists and thank them for the protection of their sister. Sister give gifts and sweets to their brothers.
Gai Jatra is an essential and historical Nepal festival with an exciting significance. It is mainly celebrated in Kathmandu Valley. As the name, Jatra itself suggests worshipping the cow. At the Festival of Gai Jatra, all the cows are decorated with flowers and tikas, and the cows walk on the entire street.
Gai Jatra’s significance is remembering each family’s dead people. The cow is decorated in honor of the deceased member of the family who died that particular year. People believe that walking the cow in the street and offering grass to the cow will open the gate of Heaven to that dead person.
Children are also dressed very differently at this Festival. Nowadays, the celebration of Gai Jatra has been decreasing in the other parts of the country. But in Kathmandu Valley, people celebrate this Festival with great excitement and enjoyment. If you want to enjoy the natural beauty of Gai Jatra, you can visit Patan and Basanta Durbar Square. Another exciting ritual about Gai Jatra is that on Bhaktapur, a special apparatus is made of bamboo and wrapped with clothes. Then, people carry the bamboo apparatus and it walks down the street.
This is the day when the dark god Shree Krishna was born. Shree Krishna was the one who taught Arjun about Karma in the holy book Mahabharat. Krishna Janmashtami mainly falls on the earth night of the dark moon of August.
Shree Krishna is often referring as the god of love. He taught people to love and maintain peace in their lives. People visit Krishna mandir near their house on this day and offer to take fast. You can visit different temples during Krishna Janmashtami, although people tend to see the Krishna mandir of Patan on this day.
People dance and sing Krishna’s song on this day. The extraordinary deeds of Shree Krishna are also called Rashlia. Priests tell the story of Lord Krishna in the temple. Then, after midnight, people gathered in the temple and performed an act of remembering when Krishna was born. People go to different meals and fairs on the day of Krishna Janmashtami.
It is in Nepal and is called Kushe Aaushi. Father’s Day in Nepal falls on Bhadra, the Nepali month. Unlike Mother’s Day, there are many rituals on this day. Sons and daughters bring different gifts to their fathers. A special kind of plant, known as the Kush, is also worshiped.
Then, the plant is placed in the temple or the ritual place of the house. The plant believes in guarding the house against negative energy: Father’s Day is also called Bau ko Mukh Herne di,n, which means watching the father’s face. People celebrate Father’s Day by putting a tika on the father’s forehead and offering him sweets and gifts.
Teej is the main Festival for Nepali women. This is the historical Festival celebrating in honor of the goddess Parvati. In ancient times, Goddess Parvati fought with demons and kept fast to protect her husband’s life, Lord Shiva. That is why Nepali women fast on Teej.
They pray for the good health of their family and their husband. Nepali women celebrate Teej for two days. On the first day, they dance and eat a variety of food. According to the tradition of Teej, married women go to their mother’s house and enjoy dancing. At midnight on this day, women prepare a special kind of food,lk, with a different ingredient called “Dar.”
The first day of the Teej is also called Dar khane din. On the second day, women bathe, wear clean clothes, and visit the Shiva temple. Women generally wear red clothes during Teej. After returning from the temple, women sing and dance for the entire day, and at midnight, women break their fast. Devotee mostly visits Pashupatinath during Teej. Unmarried women also fast on Teej to get a husband like lord shiva.
We all know that Dashain is the main Festival of Hindu people. As most people in Nepal are Hindu, they celebrate Dashain as the main Festival. This is the longest Festival celebrated in Nepal, as Dashain lasts 15 days. Each day of Dashain has its importance and story. Ghatasthapana is the first day of Dashain. On this day, people harvest a particular plant named “Jamara.”
On the first nine days of nine different forms of goddess Durga, which she kills, the demon Mahisasur also worships. People clean their houses on Dashain. Dashain especially falls on the month of Kartik. Another exciting ritual about Dashain is on the eighth and ninth days when people worship their vehicles like cars, bikes, cycles, etc.
On the tenth day of Dashain, people put tika and Jamara from their elders. Elders tend to give blessings and money to the younger. People play cards and games and swing on Dashain.
Tihar is the Festival of lights and color, which comes after Dashain. It is celebrated for five days. During these five days, people worship different animals and the goddess Laxmi, the god of wealth. People celebrate Tihar in Nepal with great enthusiasm. They clean their house and wash everything in the house.
People in Nepal believe that if they keep their homes clean, goddess Laxmi will reside there. Kojagrat Purnima is the first day of Dashain, when birds, especially Crows, are worshiped.
And on the second day, dogs worship. Similarly, on the third- and fourth day, cows are worshiping. The famous thing about Tihar is playing Deusi and Bhailo. Children especially go to their neighbor’s house to sing, be lovely, and make money. On the fifth day, Ti har calls Bhai Tika. On this day, brothers and sisters put tika on each other faces.
The tika is generally long with seven colors. Sisters give clothes and fruits to their brothers as gifts, whereas brothers give their children money. Entire Nepal delights with lights and flowers. In addition to this, people also burn fireballs and enjoy.
Christmas Festivals in Nepal
Christmas is the main Festival for Christians. Though the number of Christians in Nepal is slightly less, everyone celebrates Christmas with the same excitement. You can visit different churches during Christmas. This is the day the founder of the Christian religion, Jesus Christ, was born. People celebrate Christmas in Nepal by gathering with family and visiting churches. Children are most excited about Christmas as they will get many presents during Christmas. Public holidays are also given on the occasion of Christmas.
Festivals in Nepal are the most exciting part of our lives, and they increase the cultural and individual relations of the people. They bring us today with our region and our family. A Festival is enjoyable only if it is celebrated enjoyably. Nowadays, people take festivals as an occasion to drink and spend money.
People spend lots of money during the Festival, the tradition of showing and spending money has occurred. Because of this, the Festival harshly impacts people with low economic conditions.
People should celebrate these festivals in Nepal with harmony and peace. One should always respect and enjoy the festivals of other religions. People should understand the deep thought and reasons for celebrating the Festival. In addition, scarifying animals is also the harmful ritual of the Festival.
People should stop scarifying innocent animals as part of the rituals of celebrating festivals. Festival time in Nepal is extraordinary, as the entire country is decorated with lights and flowers.
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