Nepal is a country that celebrates numerous vibrant festivals. Due to the cultural diversity and equal respect for all religious groups, Festivals in Nepal have made their magnificent presence in the cultural scenario. From history, celebrating festivals mark cultural prosperity.
The list becomes long if we mention all the festivals of Nepal. Here, we have sorted out 12 major festivals that are celebrated in Nepal by a large number of people, that belong to Hindu and Buddhist culture, from the national level to the specific community. Let’s review these festivals.
Teej is one of the biggest festivals in Nepal, which is mainly celebrated for 3 days. It is the festival of women, who pray for marital bliss, stay fast, and worship Lord Shiva for the well-being of their husband. Generally, it falls in August. On the main day of Teej, women dance in groups, wearing colorful dresses.
Dashain is regarded as the biggest festival in Nepal, which is celebrated for 15 days. The longest festival of Nepal is celebrated as the sign of a victory of Goddess Durga over Mahisasur. The first day is called Ghatasthapana when Hindu devotees put rice, barley, and paddy to grow as Jamara. From the 7th day, the excitement of the Dashain festival begins, people sacrifice a goat on the 8th day and the 10th day is the main day of the festival when people put Tika and Jamara along with blessings from elders. It continues for 5 more days.
The second biggest festival of Hindu devotees, Tihar is known as Deewali. It is celebrated for 5 days, also called Yamapanchak. It begins worshipping crow, dog, cow/goddess Laxmi, ox and finally to the brothers for their long life. The 5th day, when brothers and sisters gather and spend nice time with delicious meals, offering presents. Tihar is also the festival of colors and lights.
A Nepalese Buddhist devotee lights a butter lamp in a monastery during Buddha Jayanti, or Buddha Purnima festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, Saturday, May 21, 2016. The festival marks the triple events of Gautam Buddha’s life: his birth, his enlightenment and his attaining a state of Nirvana that frees believers from the circle of death and rebirth. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)
Buddha Jayanti is a festival of the Buddhist devotees, but as a country of the birth land of Buddha, all the people celebrate this special day. It is the birthday of Buddha, who spread the message of peace and prosperity around the world. Generally, it falls in May/June.
Nepalese youth dance with sticks as they take part in a procession for The Gai Jatra Cow Festival in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on August 22, 2013. Families who have lost a relative during the year, parade a cow a sacred animal which is said to help the departed soul enter the afterlife, through the city for Gai Jatra. AFP PHOTO/Prakash MATHEMA
Gai Jatra festival falls in August, which is celebrated in the remembrance of the dead members of a family. King Pratap Malla began this trend to please his wife who lost her young son. People parade on the street and gather in one place. The Newari community in Kathmandu mostly follows this. Gai Jatra is also the day people satire in various topics of society.
Young Hindu priests wearing sacred threads perform a ritual during the sacred thread festival at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu, Nepal July 28, 2017. Hindus take holy baths and change their sacred threads, also known as Janai, for protection and purification during the festival. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar
Janai Purnima is one of the significant celebrations of the Hindu devotees. It is also known as Rakshya Bandhan. It is the day, Brahman changes their holy thread and all the Hindu devotees change holy thread on their wrist. Sisters and brothers gather and exchange Rakhi on their wrists.
Shree Krishna Janmastami
It is the memory of the birthday of Lord Krishna, who has got a significant presence in Hinduism. This celebration falls usually in August/September. Lord Krishna is the incarnation of Lord Visnu.
Fagun Purnima (Holi)
Fagun Purnima is a festival with a significant myth related to the demon, Holika. It is celebrated with various colors and is regarded that it is the victory of good deeds against devils. The festival is widely celebrated throughout the country throwing colors and water to each other in groups.
Maghe Sakranti is celebrated in January, around the middle of the month. It is a symbolic celebration of the ending of the cold season and expecting the warm season and people to become busy in the fields and other works.
Indra Jatra is a festival, celebrated by the Newari communities in the Kathmandu valley. It falls around August or September. Indra is the god of rain and the king of heaven.
Mahashivaratri is the celebration dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is the legendary figure in Hinduism. The festival falls around February and March. Millions of visitors and devotees visit the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. It is hugely celebrated throughout the nation, showing their devotion to Lord Shiva, visiting the nearby Shiva temples.
Lhosar is a Buddhist festival, celebrated by three different communities, Sherpa, Gurung, and Tamang. Sonam Lhosar is celebrated by the Sherpa community, Tamu Lhosar by the Gurung community, and Gyalpo Lhosar by the Tamang community.
These are the representative festivals celebrated in Nepal. Besides these, there are various communal festivals and celebrations. Nepal government offers a public holiday at these festivals.