10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese: Nepal is one of a land locked country in the Earth. It is situated in South Asia. The total Land area are 1, 47,181 sq.km. Nepal is a small country situated between two huge countries of Asia, India and China. Nepal is a common home of people of different communities with culture and ethnic groups. Their religions, customs and language are different. In Nepal there is unity in diversity.
Nepal is not only the land of mountains and natures; it is also the land of festivals. There are more than 60 festivals celebrates in Nepal every year. All the national festivals are fix according to dates and religious festivals are set by astrologers following the lunar calendar. And the best part about the festivals in Nepal is that all the ceremonies are celebrates with the same devotion and galore the way it uses to be celebrates in hundreds of years ago when people had no other means of entertainments.
Inside the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese, Dashain is the greatest and biggest festival of Nepal Hindus. Like other festivals, it is also based on the lunar clendar and falls in the months of from mid September to mid November. Dashain is celebrates for 15 days from the Dark moon day (Ghatasthapana) to the full moon day (Kojagrat Purnima). It is a festival of great delight, enthusiasm and rapture and accomplishments. The time of Dashain is very fine and well celebrations in Nepal.
The weather is fair and mild, it is right after the monsoon as well as there is no more mud or dust. Farmers are getting happiness from their tiring season of farming plantations and weddings. Schools, colleges, factories and Gov. Offices remains to close. Ripening and rustling crops to harvest, fair and pleasant weather, busy roads and paths, crowded shops, speedy renovations and cleanliness of Houses, roads, temples, taps, etc. and decorations all symbolize the arrival of the greatest festival.
Dashain celebrates the inevitable victory of virtune over vice, of truth over untruth and of justice over injustice. From dark monn the tenth day known as Vijayadashami is the main day of the greatest festival of Dashin. On this day, people take red tika, yellow plants barley (jamara) from their elders and receive blessings. Red tika (mixture of red vermillion powder and curd) is the symbol of both fortune and victory in Hindu’s culture. Dashain is also the occasion of family gatherings and feasts people forget their differences and misunderstandings and visit their relatives.
2) Tihar (Deepawali)
The Nepal’s second biggest festival Tihar is also well known by differently like, Diwali or Deepawali. Tihar is the second greatest festival celebrates after Dashain. This festival is celebrates for five-days in late autumn. It has its unique ways of celebration. During this festival, people will honour animal and birds like crows, dogs, cows and as well as goddess of wealth (Laxmi) and luck. On the last day, brothers are greets and blesses by the sisters and sisters.
As numerous candles and festive lanterns will be lit up for the Goddess of Laxmi, Tihar is also well-known as the festival of lights. The crow and the dog are regarded as the messenger of the Yama, the God of Death. The first two days observes their worship. On the third day, (Gai Tihar) holy cow is worships in the morning and Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth is worships in the evening. It is a belief that goddess Laxmi would bring fortune to the worshiper. On the fourth day, oxen are worships in much the same way as the cows and dogs.
Deepawali Celebrates in All Over Nepal
Some, though not all Hindus, worship toward Goverdhan Mountain on this day and make a “mini-mountain” of cow dung to represent it too. Occasion of the day, Newar community people perform a self-worship ceremony called Maha Pooja. On the occasion, people worship one and celebrate and eat special traditional delicious cuisine and drinks.
The Newar community also celebrates their new year on this day. Every houses, buildings and temples are graced by the rows of lights, usually the traditional Nepali lamp (diyo) of twisted cotton wick in a small clay bowl of mustard oil. The last day of Tihar is called as Bhai Tihar, usually known as Bhai Tika. On this day, sisters pray to the god Yama (God of death) for the long and prosperous life of their brothers and brothers. Tihar is celebrates with lights, lighting of the butter lamp everywhere in the houses and cities. Children and elder enjoy fire crackers; go door to door singing Deusi and Bhailo.
3) Buddha Jayanti
10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese one is Buddha Purnima’ is also known as “Birthday of Buddha” or ‘Buddha Jayanti’. The Buddha Purnima is celebrates to memorialize the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautam Buddha, the three important events in the life of Buddha. It is celebrates on the full moon night in April or May and Vaisakha month according to the Hindu calendar.
Buddha Jayanti is considered as the Thrice Blessed Festival, on this specific day Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC, his enlightenment or attainment of supreme wisdom in 588 BC and his attended Parinirvana in Kushinagar (death of Buddha) at the age of 80. Buddha Jayanti is a detailed occasion and Buddhist monasteries all around the world resound with sermons, prayers and recitals of Buddhist scriptures throughout the day in front of a statue’s of Lord Buddha. This festival is celebrates throughout South-East Asia. The festival is celebrates by the Buddhists people. It is the most holy time for devotees in the Buddhist calendar.
Buddha Purnima is also known as Vaisakha Puja in India. During this day Buddhist devotees make donations to the temples and monasteries. People gather into large groups to parade through the streets while chanting prayers Om Mani Pad me Hung” which peace Mantra of Buddha and means to “Hail to the jewel in the lotus” to the Lord Buddha to thank him for all his honest provisions.
On this day the Buddhists devotees take bathe and wear only white clothes. They offer flowers, candles, incense and fruits to the statue of the Buddha. Every year people from all over the world travel to visit the Mahabodhi tree, the site where Buddha attained enlightenment. Colorful pray flags are tied on the trees and fruit and candle offers there.
4) Gai Jatra (Cow Festival)
Gaijatra is a one of popular festival in Nepal. It is celebrates by the Newar community in the month of August with great excitement and enthusiasm especially in Kathmandu and also outside the valley. Gaijatra is the festival of national animal cow. In Nepalese language cow is known as Gai and festival is known as jatra. It is believe that this festival is celebrates for clearing the route to heaven for the deceased family of member.
In the early morning, local Newars people give a bath to the cow, especially cleaning their tails. Then the cows are decorates with colorful, red Tika and beautiful garlands. After finishing those rituals, the cow processions begin to parade around the whole city. If the cow is not available, young boys will dress up as cows to pray for the dead. During the boisterous marches, they will deliberately walk through the temples, the statues of the gods and goddess and other sacred places.
When the parades pass by, many people will offer the foods, gifts and petty cash to the cow owners and the cow or a boy dress as a cow.
Similarly, it’s believes that this kind of giving will bring them good luck in the following days. On this day people also have fun as they dress up in comic way? The political and social problems are mocks publicly. Although Gaijatra is celebrates in all three districts of Kathmandu valley including Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and also outside the valley in some district too. Specially, it’s joyful whole day in Bhaktapur in high spirits and in different ways.
Besides sending a child dress as a cow around the city, different other things are dose in Bhaktapur. On this day they performs their special stick dance called “Ghintang Ghising”. During Gaijatra festival varieties of shows are staged for the whole week and people are thoroughly entertain on the process. It is believed that Gaijatra started from the period of King Pratap Malla,who had lost an only son. This loss caused great sorrow to the queen that she gone to depression and stopped laughing.
So the king decided to make his beloved wife to make happy again. So, he ordered his people to take out a procession from each house who had lost their family member that year. Similarly, queen can understand she was not only one who lost beloved one son. Likewise, also ordered those during this festival have as much fun as possible so that the queen would smile. Finally, when the people took out the procession, the queen realized that lot of people had lost their dear ones just like she lost her son. This parade really helped to console the queen and the satires against the problems were so funny she burst into laughter or smiles. Since then the festival has been celebrating every year with the same enthusiasm.
5) Janai Purnima
In the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese, he Janai Purnima is one of the religious and a cultural festival in Hindu’s. Which is usually celebrates in early August in Nepal. Janai Purnima, mostly know as Janai Purne and also known as Kwati Purne, Srawani Purnima, Rishi Purnima and Raksha Bandhan is one such festival which very magnanimous.
Janai Purnima, the Sacred Thread Festival. In this festival hindu men, especially the Brahmans and Chettris to perform their annual change of Janai worn across the chest. This thread is gives to males during a religious ceremony calls the ‘Bratabandhan’. The ‘triple cord’ made of cotton is a symbol of body, speech and mind, and when the knots are tied the wearer is suppose to gain complete control over each.
However, this is also the day of Rakshya Bandhan when male, females, and children regardless of station and caste tie a sacred yellow thread around their wrist. Raksha means ‘protection’ and Bandhan means a bond, which is suppose to bring good vibes to the wearer and if tie to the tail of a cow in Laxmi Puja. It is believe that once the wearer dies, the cow will help him to cross the Salli River Bhaitarni, by allowing the dead to cling to her tail.
Rakshya Bandhan is populer in Hindu’s
This festival is very much popular among the Hindus. Janai Purnima is also referrers to as Raksha Bandhan and on this day sisters tie Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers and pray for their brother’s long life with a share of the responsibility of their potential care. Brothers in turn, give them return gifts and vows to protect and care for them long life. So, that it’s called Raksha Bandhan.
On this day mostly the Newar community cook a traditional special food called Kwati, a soup of nine-mixed-beans – Black-eye Peas, Cow Peas, Black Lentils, Mung, Peas, Rajmas, Chickpeas, Soybeans and eaten with wheat-bread (chapatti). Newar farmers offer different food items to frogs on this day. They considered frog as an agent of the God of rainfall. So, it’s believes that by worshiping the frog and making offerings of different food items help to increase the production of crops etc.
Teej is the fasting and greatest festival of women in Nepal inside10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese. It is celebrates in August or early September. Married women observe Teej fast to honor Lord Shiva and for long and healthy life of their beloved husband. Unmarried girls also observe fast on this day for a good husband like Lord Shiva. Teej celebrations last for three pious days. They perform traditional dances and songs which is form an important feature of Teej celebrations.
Every women wears new clothes especially Red color which are considers auspicious for women observing Teej fast. Usually most of them dress up on red color clothes. On this day, women dress up beautifully. They clad themselves in red colored apparels, wear glass bangles, heavy ornaments and apply henna. Teej gives women an opportunity to dress like the newly wed. The monsoon festivals of Teej are dedicates to Goddess of Parvati and her union with her husband, Lord Shiva. They celebrate this festival for longevity and prosperity for their husband and family.
According to mythology Goddess Parvati is said to have goes through severe reparation and took 107 births on the earth to finally unite with Siva. Flock of women spent the night; water less fast and sleepless is symbolic of Parvati’s hardship to get love.
The first day of this festival Teej is known as the ‘Dar Khane Din’. On this day, the women gather at one place and perform traditional dance and sing devotional songs. A special food called ‘dar’ is eats. The celebrations continue till midnight after which the 24-hour-long fast begins. The second or the fasting day of the Teej festival is dedicated to pujas or prayers. Some women keep fast without any food and drops of water while others take liquid and fruit.
10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese, Teej is Symbolizes of Lord Shiva
Consequently, the fasting is attends by both married and unmarried women. They dress colorfully and visit a nearby Shiva temple. After worshiping god they start singing and dancing on the way and temple area. During this festival almost every Shiva temple get full by devotee but the greatest Hindu’s temple Pashupatinath Temple gets the highest number of devotees and visitors.
At the temple, women circumnavigate the Shiva Linga, which symbolizes Lord Shiva, offers the praying with flowers, sweets and coins. On the third or final day of the joyous festival of Hindu Nepalese women it calls Rishi Panchami. On this day, the seven sages of the seven saints Sapta Rishi, Vashishta, Kasyapa, Atri, Bharadvaja, Vishwamitra, Gautama and Jamadagni are worships by women in a belief that it will cleanse all sins of the previous year.
Likewise, women take a holy bath with red mud found on the roots of the sacred Datiwan bush a special holy plant, along with its leaves. After three hours of rigorous cleansing, they come out purified and relieve from all sins. After purifying them shelf they sit in a semicircle while a priest sitting in the middle chants devotional prayers. Teej festival is also allows women full freedom of expression.
Consequently, women have traditionally used this occasion to express their pains and misery in the songs they sing while dancing. With the advancement of communication and awareness, women these days use this occasion to voice their concerns about social issues, discrimination and domestic violence against women.
7) Shree Krishna Janmashtami
Krishna Janmashtami’ is one of the holiest festivals of Hindu religion. According to the Hindu traditions, Krishna Janmashtami is celebrates as the birthday of Lord Krishna. In Hindu mythology Lord Krishna is regards as the 8th avatar or ‘Reincarnation’ of Lord Vishnu. This festival is hugely celebrates throughout the whole country.
The festival is observes on eighth day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Bhadrapad (august or September) as per Nepali calendar. Lord Krishna is regards as one of the greatest lords in Nepal. Krishna Janmasthami, also known as Krishna Janmasthami or Gokulasthami on Krishna Janmashtami numerous devotees flock to the ancient Krishna temple in old Patan Durbar Square to keep vigil through the glorious night of his birth.
Moreover, a crowd of many devotes including both men and women edge their way slowly up narrow steps. They seat in the temple’s dark interior to where the main idol stands. There devotes offer flowers, coins and food and wait for a glimpse of idol of lord Krishna. After the temple priest gives them ‘Prasad’ (religious offering) they make their way down to join the multitude of devotees on the streets around the Patan.
One of most interesting festival is in the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese. The Holi is a festival of colors which every year celebrates according to Hindu religion (March) in the month of Falgun. The festival is celebrates with colors, water, sweets, balloons and music. People put different color on each other as a token of love. People go houses of relatives and friends in group to celebrate this festival each other. They put colors on each other eat sweets and play music and dance whole day.
People in Terai celebrate Holi on the next day after Kathmandu valley and other hilly reason of Nepal. On this day, most of Gov. Offices remain closed. The whole Kathmandu valley is engage in the festival atmosphere. Whether people know each other or not, they’ll be sprays with colors powder and water. Some people organize picnic and musical concert to celebrate Holi with friends, family and relatives.
Colors of Festival (Fagu Poornima)
Hence, this day people go to temple to worship Lord Vishnu. In the Kathmandu Valley, Fagu Poornima starts with the raising of the Chir pole in front of Kumari House in Kathamandu Durbar squire. The pole is bring down, draggers to Tudikhel and burnt to cinders. The ashes are carried home by devotees as it is believes it will provide them protection against evil.
Similarly, after all, this festival was originally celebrates within a Hindu mythology. King Hiranyakashipu was so arrogant who commands everybody in his kingdom to worship him and didn’t allow people to worship Lord Vishnu. However, Prince Prahlada was an ardent devotee of Vishnu and openly opposed his father. This enraged Hiranyakashipu.
Since then, the king ordered his sister Holika’s was burn the prince on the full moon night. Under the blessing of God Vishnu, Prahlada was unscathed while Holika was burn into ashes. After that Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Narshima and killed the demon King. Since Holika was destroyed, the festival is named after her and celebrated as the victory of God over evil.
9) Maghe Sankranti
In the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese, Maghe Sankranti is occurs in the first day of month of Magh of Bikram Sambat (mid January). It marks the coming of warmer weather after winter season and better days of health and fortune. It is also consider as important festival in Nepal. The festival also known as the Makar Sankranti or Maghi. It’s celebrates with great joy all over Nepal among Hindu community also in Terai.
Alike every festival in Nepal, Maghe Sankranti also has its own story behind its celebrations. Hindu devotes worshipped lord Mahadev with a belief that it would bring good supply of foods and wealth. On this day people take holy bath in holy rivers like Triveni, Shankhamool, Dolalghat, Bagmati or any other religious rivers of Nepal.
However, rather having busy schedule family gather together and eat special foods like ghee, Chaaku , tarul , teel laddus (sesame laddu), etc. These foods are eats as to make human bodies warm up from inside in winter of January. Families gather together for the celebration. Daughters and son in laws are also invites for lunch. People belonging to Newar community massage their body and head with sesame oil as a belief that it would make them strong and warm from inside.
The Maghe Sankranti is also the biggest festival of Tharu community in Nepal. Tharu community is commonly residing Terai region south part of Nepal. They celebrate Maghe Sankranti as ‘Maghi’. In Tharu community, maghi is considers as the New Year. In this day Tharu community people organized meal in Tundikhel where Tharu People put different food stall, shop also cultural program resembling Tharu culture and tradition with their traditional dress up. People from different community participate in this meal and get to know about Tharu community through this meal.
10) Maha Shivaratri
A very famous in the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepalese, Maha Shivaratri is greatest festival of Hindu community mainly celebrates on month of Falgun (February/March). Likewise many other festival of Nepal, there are also vast stories behind the celebration of Shivaratri. One of them is, during Samundra Manthan, the poison Halahal came out of the ocean. It started creating destruction all over.
To protect the world from the devastation Lord Shiva drank the poison and managed to keep it in his throat. Lord Shiva protected the world from the dangerous poison. For this reason, people started celebrating the day as Shivaratri and thanking to Shiva for saving the Earth. It is believes Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this day. In some places, Shivaratri is considerers as marriage anniversary of Shiva-Parvati .
In Shivaratri Pashupatinatha temple has a biggest possession. On this days, Hindu devotees from all over Nepal and all over Southeast Asia visit Pashupatinath. Large number of Shadus from all over the world comes to Pashupatinath for on the occasion. Different types of Shadus you can see around Pashapupati and its surroundings.
Shiva devotees observe whole day and night fasting. Shiva Linga Pooja is dose in the night by chanting mantras, offering Beal leaf and pouring water on the Linga. People set fire place around the temples to warm up Lord Shiva at night Children go on search of wood to set holy fire singing “Shivaji lai jado bhayo aago deu”. (Shivaji is feeling cold, give some fire). In villages and towns big driftwood are burns in places and people sing Shiva Bhajans the whole night.