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 the history, celebrating festivals mark the 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 festival in Nepal, which is mainly celebrated for 3 days. It is the festival of women, who pray for the marital bliss, stay fasting and worship Lord Shiva for the well-being of their husband. Generally, it falls in August. 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 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.
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.
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. Newari community in Kathmandu mostly follows this. Gai Jatra is also the day people satire in various topics of the society.
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 it 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 cold season and expecting the warm season and people 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 in the god of rain and the king of the heaven.
Mahashivaratri is the celebration dedicated to the Lord Shiva, who is the legendary figure in Hinduism. The festivals 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 the Buddhist festival, celebrated by three different communities, Sherpa, Gurung and Tamang. Sonam Lhosar is celebrated by Sherpa community, Tamu Lhosar by the Gurung community and Gyalpo Lhosar by the Tamang community.
These are the representative festivals celebrated in Nepal. Beside these, there are various communal festivals and celebrations. Nepal government offer public holiday in these festivals.