12 Major Festivals in Nepal

Nepal is a country that celebrates multiple vibrant festivals and celebrations. It is due to the diverse social groups with multiple regions devotees and Nepal respects all the religions and their rituals equally. Every social group with various cultural communities celebrates their distinct festivals and finally it takes a national form of festivals in Nepal. Autumn is the main festival time in Nepal.

Some of the nationally celebrating festivals in Nepal that are taken more special festivals are Dashain, Tihar, Teej, Maghe Sakranti and others. Kathmandu valley is also known as the valley of festivals as the Newari communities are more dedicated to their traditional festivals, celebrations and their spiritual continuities. The major festivals and celebrations in Nepal are as follows, when the government of Nepal announces holidays.

1. Dashain

Dashain is the biggest and longest festival in Nepal. It is celebrated for 15 days, which has got its ancient tale. It falls in autumn. The festival is regarded as the victory of virtues over vices, Gods over demons and truth over falsity. The special day will be the first day, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth that goes continually to the fifteenth day. Goddess Durga is worshipped with a great enthusiasm, which are the real representatives of power, bravery, cruelty over vices and many more. It is also celebrated to remember the special day when Lord Ram slaughtered Ravan (God and demon). Animal sacrifices are given on the 8th day. People put Tika and Jamara (red powder mixed with rice and the maize/paddy plant) with the blessings from their elders. 



2. Tihar

Tihar is regarded as the second greatest festival in Nepal. It is celebrated for 5 days. It is also known as the festival of light and color. People color their surroundings, hang colorful lights and enjoy the festival with the Tika ceremony from their sisters. Tihar is better known as the festival of brothers and sisters, to strengthen their bond. Crow, dog, ox and cows are worshipped for the 4 days. The 4th day is also very special to worship the goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. The 5th day is Bhaitika, when sisters put colorful tikas on their forehead. The blessings are given for the long and healthy life. Delicious varieties are cooked.



3. Teej

Teej is a festival of women, celebrated 3 days. They stay fasting on the main day of Teej, worship Lord Shiva asking for the marital bliss, wonderful family relationships and the purification of body and soul. Generally, the festival falls on the month of August. On the third day, they go to the water sources nearby and take a holy bath.



4. Janai Purnima

Janai Purnima is a popular Hindu festival, which is known as the festival of changing holy thread that Brahmins wear. Also Doro (thread rounding on your wrist) is tighten on this day, which is known as Rakshya Bandhan. Sisters tighten the holy thread to brothers wishing for the long life and happy life.


5. Buddha Jayanti

Buddha Jayanti is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Buddha, who spread the message of peace all over the world. It dates back in about 543 BC. The festival falls around the last of May or early June. The festival is mainly celebrated in Buddhist monasteries and Buddist cultural sites. Boudhanath, Swayambhunath and Lumbini become exclusively stunning in this festival.



6. Gai Jatra

Gai Jatra is a festival, which is primarily celebrated in the Kathmandu valley, especially by the Newari communities. King Pratap Malla begun this festival to make his queen come out of the mournful condition due to their son’s death. Every year, around August-September, people take participate on this festival, from the house that have lost their family members. People disguise (especially kids) in odd form and walk around the city.  



7. Shree Krishna Janmastami

Krishna Janma Astami is a festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is taken as the reincarnation of Lord Visnu. The festival takes place around August-September.

8. Fagun Purnima

Fagu Purnima or Falgun Purnima is a festival of colors. People throw colors and water on each othes, which is a mythical representation of celebration of the demise of demon Holika. It is celebrated around February-March. This is the most adored one day festival by the current generation feeling free.



9. Maghe Sankranti

Maghe Sankranti is the first day of the month- Magh. It falls in the mid of January. The chilling weather slowly goes on warmer. Specially, daughters who are married visit their parents with gifts. People eat sweet potatoes and others made the earlier day.


10. Mahashivaratri

Mahashivaratri is a widely celebrated festival, which falls around February-March, dedicated to the birthday of Lord Shiva. Though there are some myths of Marijuana, the festival is basically celebrated by the women worshipping Lord Shiva by fasting. They dance and enjoy visiting the holy sites. Pashupatinath is the temple, where the Shivaratri festival is excitingly celebrated. Sadhus from different parts of Nepal and India come to pay their homage.



11. Indrajatra

Indrajatra is basically celebrated in the Kathmandu valley. Indra, the God of rain is worshipped during this festival during August-September. The traditional dances are performed in the ancient garments.



12. Rato Machhindranath Jatra

This is celebrated on the full moon day of Baisakh, in April. This is the longest festival celebrated in Patan. The wooden chariot is pulled and takes a tour to the city.

Beside the festivals and celebrations mentioned above, there are various celebrations take place in different parts of Nepal by the ethnic and other communities. The Mani Rimdu festival is celebrated in the Everest region of Nepal by the Sherpa communities. It held on the full moon day of the 9th month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar. Tiji festival is celebrated in Upper Mustang, in May. Lhosar is celebrated by three different communities: Sherpa, Gurung and Tamang. 


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