Nepal Festivals Introduction
Nepal is not only the land of the mountains but it is also the land of festivals. There are more than 60 festivals in Nepal celebrated every year.
Nepal has more than 125 different ethnic groups of people mainly the Indian and Tibetan region. All these groups of people have different traditions, culture and lifestyle resulted in colorful festivals.
No wonder Nepal is the place of the festival. Every day is a day of celebration for one or another community. The best part of the people of Nepal is they pride in their own culture and respect for others. This is the main reason numerous cultural and religious Nepali Festivals are celebrated by different communities.
It is quite impossible to mention all the festivals that celebrated in Nepal. However, we include a popular festival celebrated by the majority of people in Nepal.
8 Most Popular Festivals Which are Celebrated In Nepal
- Dashain (Biggest Festival Celebrated by Nepali)
- Fagun Purnima (Holi)
- Chhath Parva
- Teej (Woman’s Festival)
- Buddha Jayanti
- Gai Jatra
Dashain is one of the biggest festivals in Nepal celebrated by Hindi religions. This auspicious festival is celebrated to rejoice victory over the evil. This festival celebrated for 15 days from the first day Ghatasthapana until Kojagrat Purnima.
During this festival, people reunite with their families and friends and celebrate together. The children are busy with kites and shopping for new clothes.
Animals like goats, buffaloes, and cocks are devoted to Goddess Durga at the night of Kalratri. On the tenth day of the festival, the younger ones received a red mark (tika) and Jamara from the elder members of their family and continue for the next 5 days. The 15th day of festivals is called full moon day ‘Kojagarat Purnima’.
Tihar is the festivals of lights which fall between the month of October-November. It is the second biggest festival in Nepal after Dashain. The festival lasts for five days and people worship Laxmi – the goddess of wealth.
During this festival, all of the houses are cleaned and decorated with flowers & candles, paper cup lights, colorful candles, torans, glass jar lanterns, candles, and creative rangolis.
During the festival crow, dogs, and cows are worshiped. The festival ends with the Bhaitika – brother’s day when his sisters worship him for his long and healthy life to safeguard the lives of his sisters. On the fourth day at Laxmi Puja, people also tried their luck in gambling.
Fagu Purnima (The Festival of Colors)
Fagu Purnima is also known as Holi and the festival of colors. The festival fall between Feb-March. It is one of the major Nepali festivals. Want to experience freedom? It’s a perfect day, playing with the colors and meeting friends & relatives.
The day is supposed to be a celebration of the death of ‘Holika’, someone who tried to kill devotee of Lord Vishnu’s Prahlad. She and Prahlad were both lit, but only Holika body burned and turned to death.
Holi marks the arrival of spring as well. From the day of Holi, days start to get warmer and colorful flowers bloom. Holi is celebrated on two different days.
People of the Hilly region celebrate the festival on the day of the full moon while the Terai region celebrates it the next day.
Chhath Parva is a four-day festival falls during the month of October-November. The festival is celebrated by the natives of the Mithila region. It is one of the biggest festivals of the Terai region.
This festival is dedicated to the Sun as God Surya (Sun) in Hindu religion.
The main reason to celebrate this festival to thanking Sun God, Surya for nourishing life on the earth.
The worshipers fast for two days for the longevity and prosperity of their family members. Devotees, sum up the festivals offering to the rising sun the next morning after the day-long fast.
Local & traditional foods Thekuwa, Kasar, and Khajuri, are the dishes prepared during Chhath.
Teej (Woman’s Festival)
Teej is a Hindu festival celebrated by women during the month of September/ October. The festival is observed for three days.
On the first day of the festival, married women fast for the longevity and prosperity of their husband. The other two days are followed by ritual puja of Lord Shiva
The festival celebrated by singing and dancing. Women dressed in red saris and wear different ornaments and Jewelry.
They gather together to dance and sing. They visit their relatives and enjoy various delicious foods and sweets before and after the fast.
The festival Lhosar is celebrated by ethnic groups of Nepal, Sherpa, Gurung, and Tamang. It is the first day of the New Year and each community has its own way to celebrate the Lhosar at different times.
People belong to Gurung community celebrate Tamu Lhosar in December, Tamang community celebrates Sonam Lhosar in February. Similarly, the Sherpa community celebrates Gyalbo Lhosar in the month of Feb/March.
The traditions of Lhosar includes cleaning, decorating houses, making mouth-watering foods, and serving to their family, relatives, and friends.
Buddha Jayanti is the special day for both Buddhists and Hindus. On this auspicious day, people celebrate the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha-the light of Asia. As Buddha was born in 563 B.C in Kapilvastu, Lumbini. This festival falls on full moon night either in May or June.
On this day, the followers of Buddha visit Swayambhunath, Bouddha, Lumbini, and other stupas and monasteries.
Gai Jatra is a Nepali version of Halloween. This festival is celebrated with a full of humor, satire, jokes, etc. as it is legally allowed to make jokes about anything on this particular day.
The Historical origin of the festival, according to evidence, is that after the death of his son, King Pratap Malla was worried about his queen who was grief-stricken. So, he made an announcement that every family who had lost a member would join a procession to showcase the pics or symbols of dead family members in the form of Cows.
People in the procession are dressed ridiculously. They have funny faces and jokes so that people would forget the grief of losing their loved ones.