Top 10 Major Festivals In Nepal.

man-icon Guru Travels Limited calender-icon 31 January 2023

Nowadays, everyone's life is so monotonous and stressful that we all occasionally want to escape from it. What better way to do so than by participating in festivals? Festivals are not just observed for religious or cultural reasons. Festivals are a celebration of people getting together for a fun activity. 

Festivals are unique occasions for the joyful, peaceful, and harmonious celebration of custom, culture, and legacy. Nepal is a country of festivals, where people of many religions live in peace with one another. A real reflection of Nepal's rich culture and customs is the large array of festivals that are celebrated here.

This article will incorporate the top festivals that are celebrated in Nepal!

  1. Dashain

    Dashain, Nepal's major harvest festival, is a time for gatherings of family members, gift-giving, blessing-exchanging, and elaborate pujas. The festival of Dashain honors the goddess Durga, who was made from the combined shakti, or spirit, of all the gods and was equipped with their respective weapons. 

Dashain is a symbol of the victory of good over evil. Kite flying, temple worship, card playing, shopping for new apparel, family get-togethers, obtaining blessings from elders, cleaning the surroundings, painting the house, and other activities are some of the main Dashain customs. 

The 10-day Dashain celebration is held in September and October. The first day of the ten days, Ghatsthapana, the seventh day, Fulpati, the eighth day, Maha Asthami, the ninth day, Maha Navami, and the tenth day, Dashami are the most important days that are celebrated by people and where families come together and enjoy with each other.

  1. Tihar

The five-day festival of lights called Tihar commemorates Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth, while Yama, the God of Death, is also honored throughout the celebrations. Although the exact dates vary each year, it is currently observed all throughout Nepal around October or November. 

These lights, known as diyos, are deployed everywhere throughout the festival. Each religion that shares in the festival commemorates distinct historical occurrences and tales, but regardless of the religion, the celebration represents the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, which has significance for all of us. The celebration honors triumph, peace, and pleasure. It also commemorates Lord Ram's return from exile, as told in the epic Ramayana. 

The Yama informant is worshipped on the first day of Kaag Tihar, which is also known as the crow's day. Kukur Tihar's second day is dedicated to worshiping canines as representatives of Yama. Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja take place on the third day. On this day, the cow receives morning prayers and nourishment, while Goddess Laxmi receives evening elaborate prayers and puja.

  1. Holi

The Holi Festival of Colors in Nepal commemorates the defeat of the demoniac Holika and the triumph of good over evil. Every year, it is observed on the day after the full moon in the early-March Hindu month of Phalguna. Hindus march through the streets dousing onlookers with colorful powders as they chant and dance to celebrate the arrival of spring and other occasions. 

This event welcomes and accepts everyone, regardless of age or faith. People of different ages, communities, genders, races, etc. celebrate Holi. 

Consequently, it is true to say that a celebration has the ability to draw even rivals together. After the gloomy winters are over, everything appears to be so vibrant and brilliant. The flora and wildlife around us begin to bloom as nature begins to recover as if nature is also participating in the Holi festival with humans.

  1. Maghe Sankranti

The first day of the month is commonly referred to as Sankranti. As a result, Maghe Sankranti, the first day of the Nepalese month Magh, is observed. However, the elite society of Nepal observes this day under several titles and partakes in various events. A new harvest season and the end of winter are also heralded by the festivity. It has a religious and seasonal significance. 

In the Nepalese calendar, it is regarded as one of the luckiest days. As a celebration of paying gratitude to "Mother Nature" for providing health, riches, and happiness, Sankranti Day is dedicated to Lord Sun. The body also receives Vitamin D from exposure to the sun, which has been strongly advised in all medical specialties worldwide. 

The primary significance of Makara Sankranti is to celebrate the harvest of the rabi crops. Therefore, this celebration has both religious and cultural importance.

  1. Teej

One of the biggest and most important holidays for Hindu women is teej. This event is held in honor of Goddess Parvati, who married Lord Shiva as a result of her fervent prayers. This event, which has been observed for decades by all women across the country, is mostly founded on religious conviction. In Nepal, this event takes place in September. Its celebrations include distinctive customs or traditions. 

On this day, women feel more empowered and they come together to dance and sing various folk songs. They do travel to the adjacent temple of Lord Shiva to pray, but the majority of them stand in a long queue at Pashupatinath. 

The Teej is an ancient Nepalese event that is increasingly well-known in both the city and the countryside. Both married and unattached women observe a strict fast on this day, going the entire day without consuming even a sip of water or grain.

  1. Gai Jatra

One of the most popular Hindu holidays is the Gai Jatra celebration in Nepal. Every year, Nepal celebrates the Gai Jatra Festival. The Cow Festival, as it is often called, honors people who have passed away in the previous year. The festival is a time for loved ones to be remembered and for family and friends to gather together. It is an annual holiday that has been observed for generations in honor of the departed. 

Gai literally translates to "cow," while Jatra literally means "procession." The Kathmandu Valley's joyful Gai Jatra celebration honors cows and the approaching bounty of the harvest. Gai Jatra is a public and communal event since the word "Jatra" in Nepali means "street festival" and the festival is celebrated in honor of immediate relatives who have died during the previous year.

  1. Buddha Jayanti

Vesak, also known as Buddha Jayanti, is the most significant holiday for Buddhists worldwide. As all three significant events in the life of Lord Buddha—his birth in Lumbini, his attainment of enlightenment in Buddhagaya, and his entry into Mahaparinirvana in Kusinagar—took place on this eventful day, it is observed on the Full Moon Day of May (Vaisakh) and is considered the thrice blessed day. 

Devotees visit Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, Boudhanath, Swayambhunath, and other sacred locations on this auspicious day to light butter lamps. The primary place to go during this celebration is Lumbini. Buddhists and followers of Buddhism across the world worship, meditate, conduct fasts, and talk about the Buddha's teachings on this day.

  1. Raksha Bandhan

Janai Purnima and Raksha Bandhan are the religious Hindu festivals of Nepal. Here is everything you need to know about the Janai Purnima, Rakshya Bandhan & Kwati Khane Din festivals in Nepal.  In the diverse geography of Nepal, diverse festivals are celebrated that hold cultural significance by the Nepalese, and Janai Purnima is one of them. ‘Janai’ means a sacred thread and ‘Purnima’ means full moon in the Nepali language. 

On the full moon day, Hindu pilgrims, mainly Brahmin and Chhetri men, change the sacred thread, which they wear the whole year around their bodies. On the other hand, Newar celebrates this day as ‘Kwati punhi’ or ‘Gunhi Punhi’. The same day as "Rakshya Bandhan" is also celebrated by Hindus in the Terai area. Similar to this, "Raksha Bandhan" honors sibling love. This unique Hindu holiday is observed to represent the love between a brother and a sister.

  1. Shiva Ratri

The most significant sectarian holiday of the year for followers of the Hindu deity Shiva is Maha-Shivaratri, also known as the "Great Night of Shiva" in Sanskrit. Hindus predominantly celebrate Maha Shivaratri each year to honor Lord Shiva, the God of Destruction. Unmarried women pray for a spouse like Shiva, who is regarded as the ideal husband, while married women pray for the welfare of their husbands on Maha Shivaratri. 

On this auspicious day, Hindu worshippers go from Nepal and other nations including India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Mauritius to pay a visit to the Pashupatinath temple, the largest shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. On this day, a sizable influx of worshippers and Sadhus (holy sages) may be seen at Kathmandu's Pashupatinath Temple. 

Similarly to this, worshippers all throughout the nation participate in this event by paying homage to Lord Shiva in various temples, rivers, and ponds. Maha Shivaratri is not merely an openly happy holiday for eating, as are other Hindu festivals. Instead, it represents the concepts of self-reflection and personal development through letting go of everything that gets in the way of our achievement.

  1. Indra Jatra

Indra Jatra from Bhadra Dwadasi to Ashwin Krishna Chaturdasi, Nepal celebrates the eight-day-long Indra Jatra celebration. It is a significant Newa celebration also referred to as Yenya in Nepal Bhasa. 

Every day there are different celebrations, with Kumari Jatra and Bhairav Jatra serving as the primary events. Initially, each of these three holidays was observed separately. The Indra Jatra in Kathmandu displays a series of diverse locations that are all thematically related. The construction of a tall pole, the Kumari Jatra, lakhey dance, Lord Bhairava-related entertainment, and the custom of the funeral procession are the very least.

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