|

Nepal is called the land of festivals. There are more than 50 festivals celebrated in Nepal every year. While the national festivals have fixed dates, religious festivals are set by astrologers following the lunar calendar. The best part about the festivals in Nepal is that all the events are celebrated with the same enthusiasm and galore the way it used to be hundreds of years ago when people had no other means of entertainment.

New Year

It is known as “Navavarsha” in Nepal. Nepal has its official calendar that begins from the first day of month Baisakh. This very first day is observed as Nepali New Year which usually falls in the second week of April.

Lhosar (Tibetan New Year)

Lhosar is the New Year of the Tibetans and Sherpas of Nepal which falls in February. The Buddhist monasteries in Kathmandu like Boudhanath and Swayambhunath are decorated with eye catching colorful prayer flags pulling the crowd.


Saraswati Puja

It is a day to celebrate the birthday of Saraswati – the Goddess of education. This is a day when people from school students to scholars worship their pens and books to please the Goddess and expect her favor in their studies so they become wise and knowledgeable.

Shivaratri (Maha Shivaratri)

Night of Lord Shiva or Shivaratri that falls sometime between February/March is one of the major festivals of Nepal. This day is dedicated to the Lord of the Lords – Lord Shiva or Mahadev who lived in Mt. Kailash in the Himalayas. Lord Shiva is the most worshipped God in the Hindu religion.

More than 100,000 of Hindu devotees from India and Southeast Asia throng weeks ahead of the festival and gather in and around Pashupatinath temple – one of the holiest shrines of the Hindus in Kathmandu to pay their homage to Lord Shiva on his birthday.


Holi

This festival of water and colors that falls between February/March is also known as “Phagu” in Nepal. This day is observed to rejoice the extermination of female demon Holika who together with her King Brother conspired to kill his son Pralhad, an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu.

Ghode Jatra (Festival of Horses)

This festival takes place between March/April and a grand horse parade takes place at Tundikhel.

Buddha Jayanti

Buddha’s birth anniversary is celebrated every year during May in Nepal. On this day people swarm in Swayambhunath and Boudhanath to pay homage to Lord Buddha and also visit Buddha’s birth place in Lumbini and chant prayers and burn butter lamps.

Gai Jatra (Cow Festival)

Cow is regarded as a Goddess and it is also the national animal of Nepal. As per the tradition, the family who has lost a relative during the past one year must take part in a procession by sending young boys in cow like attire and walk through the streets of Kathmandu lead by a cow.

This festival also purges many who have lost their loved ones as they get to console themselves as to they are not the only ones who have been bereaved and it also teaches to accept death as a part of life. This festival of cow is celebrated every year in August/September.

Krishna Janmastami

Krishna Janmastami is birth anniversary of Lord Sri Krishna, believed to be the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu falls sometime in August/September.

Teej

This festival is celebrated in August/September. This is a Hindu married woman’s day for her man. Women clad in beautiful red saris with shining potes, singing and dancing is the sight almost everywhere in Nepal during the festival of Teej.

Indra Jatra

Lord Indra- the God of Rain and also the King of Heaven is celebrated by both the Buddhists and Hindus in Nepal in August/September. This festival lasts for eight days with singing, mask dancing and rejoicing.

Tihar

Tihar is the festival of lights that falls between October/ November is the second biggest festival after Dashain. This festival lasts for five days and people worship Laxmi – the Goddess of Wealth. On this very day, the Newari New Year which is also known as Nepal Sambat begins. The festival ends with Bhai Tika – brothers’ day when his sisters worship him for his long and healthy life to safeguard the lives of his sisters.

Dashain (Bijaya Dashami)

During the month of Kartik (late September and early October), the Nepalese people indulge in the biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the country. The fifteen days of celebration occurs during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon.



Fairs and Festivals in Nepal