Nepal, known as a paradise for trekkers, is a wonderful place for festivals. You're guaranteed to experience at least one of Nepal's amusing festivals whenever you travel there. Even if not all of the festivals are observed as holidays, Nepalis nevertheless give them a lot of attention.
Nepal is a nation with many different ethnic and cultural groupings. We celebrate a variety of holidays from all major religions and races. Every other building in Nepal is said to be a holy shrine on alternate festival days. The Festival also provides guests with priceless chances to enjoy themselves while learning more about many facets of Nepalese culture.
There is an uncountable number of festivals that are celebrated in Nepal. All around the year, one can celebrate festivals. Every community and region has different festivals, with Dashain and Tihar begin common. Several Patras like Indra Jata, Bisket Jatra, and Ghode Jatra is celebrated inside Kathmandu valley. Similarly, in the western part of Nepal, Dolpo is highly influenced by the Tibetan religion. The language, dress, festivals, and beliefs of people here are residing are same as Tibetans. Besides, there are still many festivals that different communities celebrate here.
The lunar calendar is used to time religious holidays. National festivals, however, have set dates. We have included the months and names of the festivals that are observed by many ethnic groups and different religions such as Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, etc. Be pretty confident that you will be attending one of the festivals of any religion when and wherever you come to Nepal.
Baisakh (April 15-May 14)
New Year (Biska Jatra)
In Nepal, the 1st of Baisakh is celebrated as the new year. The New Year is usually an exciting time to be there because of the widespread celebrations that take place. Bhaktapur, where the Bisket Jatra festival is held, is a really exciting spot to spend the day. The event culminates in a chariot war in Bhaktapur's Khalna Tole as a massive chariot pulling the god Bhairab is dragged through the streets.
Biska Jatra is a popular celebration in Bhaktapur, and the aesthete considers it to be one of the city's most valuable festivals, with both cultural and historical significance. This Jatra, which takes place in the middle of April, is how people celebrate Basanta or spring. It is also known as Bisket Jatra by the locals and is also known as Chyacha Gunhuya Jatra, which translates to "eight-night and nine-day Jatra" because it is the biggest Jatra in Bhaktapur.
While you are at this Jatra, you may observe the enthusiasm that people have for this festival. Thousands of people travel from various regions just to attend this festival in Bhaktapur. You can't even imagine how many people there will be. It appears that no one is outside and that Bhaktapur's streets are completely empty. There is also a celebration of Sindoor Jatra, tongue-piercing Jatra in Bode as a part of Bisket in Thimi city of Bhaktapur. It is the beginning of the new year.
Both Hindus and Buddhists celebrate the Buddha Jayanti Festival as a great occasion. Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal, in 623 BC as a prince of the Shakya dynasty. Nepal commemorates Buddha Jayanti as one of its big festivals because it is the birthplace of Buddha. It occurs on a full moon night in either May or June. On this auspicious day, peace activists and Buddhists travel to Buddha's birthplace in Nepal, Lumbini. Furthermore, on Buddha Jayanti, Buddhist monasteries, chaityas, and gumbas are decked and swarmed with tourists.
Muslims in Nepal celebrate the Islamic holiday known as Eid al-Fitr. It is observed to remember the one-month Ramadan feast. Muslims all around the world celebrate it to finish the month-long fast, which is thought to have been instituted by the prophet Muhammad himself. Because of this, it is often referred to as the feast of breaking the fast. According to the Islamic calendar, it is observed on the first day of the tenth month.
Rato Machchhendranath, held in Patan, is Nepal's longest and largest festival. Over the course of several weeks, a huge chariot is constructed on Pulchowk Road, and the god Machchhendranath is eventually installed within. Three days later, the chariot starts making its way toward Bungamati through Patan and broader Lalitpur. The event marks the arrival of the monsoon and is dedicated to the Newar rain god Machchhendranath.
The Tiji festival normally takes place in May and sometime in June because of the Nepali and English Calender. During the occasion, monks from Lo Manthang's "Choedhe" monastery perform ritual dances. During the performances, the persecution of Ma Tam Ru Ta (in a dance called "Tsa Chham" on the first day), the birth of Dorjee Sonnu as the demon's offspring (on the second day called "Nga Chham"), and the endeavor to return the demon to Lord Buddha's domain (on the third and final day) are enacted.
Tiji is an enthralling yearly three-day event that celebrates the myth of a son who had to save the Mustang kingdom from annihilation. The celebration originated in Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang. The name "Tiji" is an acronym of the word "Tempa Chirim," which means "World Peace Prayer." This celebration honors Lord Buddha's incarnation Dorjee Sonnu's battle over Man Tam Ru, a nasty beast who feeds on humans and causes storms and droughts.
Asar(June 15- July 14)
The monsoon itself serves as a holiday for farmers in a nation where a substantial portion of the population is still reliant on agriculture. Since ancient times, farmers have observed the 15th day of the month of Asar (or Aashadh), also known as Asar 15, as a holiday. Recently, the government decided to recognize the tradition as Ropai Diwas or Dhan Diwas after endorsing it (National Rice Plantation Day or National Paddy Day). Every year, this is a farming festival. It will occur again on June 29, 2021.
Ropai Diwas has a strong connection with people in practically every section of the country, and it has an impact on their cultural and economic lives. Non-family members often assemble to savor the traditional delicacy of Dahi-chiura (yogurt and beaten rice).
Shrawan( July 15- August 14)
Shrawan Sankranti is the first day of the Nepali calendar's fourth month. This celebration is significant in rural Nepal because it honors a unique Luto Phalne tradition. The entire family gathers in the yard outside the house, ignites little pieces of firewood, and throws them on all sides, hoping that no one in the family will get Luto (scabies) throughout the year.
However, in urban Nepal, the tradition of throwing away lighted fires to hope for good health is not as vibrant as it once was in villages. The practice is progressively going out as the village's young people move to cities or abroad.
The tenth lunar month of Nepal Sambat, known as Gunla, is the holiest month of the year for Newa Buddhists. 'Gun' signifies nine in Nepal Bhasa, while 'La' indicates the month. As a result, because this festival is celebrated nine months after the start of Nepal Sambat, the transitions of this month are known as Gunlathwa and Gunlage.
Throughout the month, Buddhists visit various monasteries such as Namo Buddha, Swyambhunath, Boudhanath, Bajrayogini, and many other large and small monasteries. According to the lunar calendar, this celebration begins five days before Naag Panchami and lasts a month.
People of Bhaktapur, unlike the other two cities, celebrate the last day of Gunla Panchadan or Gunla festival in a unique way. The Five Buddhas, who are mistakenly identified as Panch Pandava by Hindus, are carried to Taumadhi Square. However, before they are carried to Taumadhi, they are brought to Suryamadhi Tole, where the yearly Panchadan (Panchara) takes place. Gunla Baja is also accompanying them. A unique musical instrument used solely in Gunla Parva is the Gunla Baja. It is performed throughout the Buddhist communities there for an entire month.
Nag Panchami worships reptiles, particularly snakes. Many religious groups, including Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains, observe it throughout Nepal, India, and neighboring nations. On this day, serpents are worshiped and offered milk, sweets, flowers, and lamps with the assistance of a snake charmer. If you visit Nepal, you should go to the Changunarayan temple and the Basuki Nag temple in Pashupati.
Worshiping the serpent god in Nag Panchami is thought to reduce the likelihood of a snake bite during Nepal's monsoon season. After performing a special puja on this day, the portrait and sculpture of serpents are also pasted in the home's doors and front walls.
Bhadra(August 15- September)
Janai Purnima and Rakshya Bandhan
Janai Purnima is also known as the Sacred Thread Festival. On this day, Hindu men, particularly Brahmins and Chettris, undergo their annual Janai change, and everyone who participates in the festival wears a sacred thread around their wrist. On this day, Gosaikunda, the sacred pond at a high altitude, witnessed the grand celebration.
Gunhi punhi is the name given to this day by the Newar people. Because it occurs during the ninth month (Gunla) and on the full moon day of the Nepal era lunar calendar. A day following Nag Panchami and a day before Gai Jatra. Because this full moon day falls inside the Gunla Parva, most devotees also pay tribute to Swyambhunath. It is also referred to as “Kwati Khane din”.
On that day, an extravagant delicacy known as Kwati is served in every home. The nine various types of beans are probably scattered throughout a soup. Included in that are elements like green gram, black gram, chickpea, field bean, soybean, field pea, garden pea, cowpea, and rice bean.
Instead of Janai Purnima, people in the southern part of Nepal celebrate Raksha Bandhan. Sisters celebrate sibling relationships by tying a thread bracelet known as a "Rakhi" on their brothers' wrists. In return, the brothers offer the sisters gifts while swearing to keep them safe.
Gai Jatra is celebrated by the Newar community in Bhaktapur and other locations. It is a festival honoring loved ones who have passed away. The "Festival of Cows," where there is singing, mirth, and dancing hilarity, is another name for it among the locals.
The deceased family members of the previous year parade through the streets during Gai Jatra while dressed as cows. It lasts for eight days straight in the Solar Calendar's transition from August to September. You may expect to see Nepali traditional stick dancing, singing, and unique comedy at this fiesta. They expect it to bring them good fortune in the coming days. Thousands of people converge to celebrate with great zeal and significance. Attending these festivals is, in a nutshell, one of the nicest things to do in Kathmandu.
You may expect to see Nepali traditional stick dancing, singing, and unique comedy at this fiesta. They expect it to bring them good fortune in the coming days. Thousands of people converge to celebrate with great zeal and significance. Attending these festivals is, in a nutshell, one of the nicest things to do in Kathmandu. Some clips we have on youtube Gai Jatra festival in Kathmandu.
According to legend, Lord Krishna was born on the eighth day of August's waning moon. The deity is revered in Hinduism and plays an important part in the Bhagwad Geeta as Arjuna's master.
Devotees go to Patan's Krishna Mandir on this day to commemorate the festival. Men and women come to this temple to sit in vigil till midnight. They light butter/oil lamps to express their joy and devotion to the Lord. Some religious groups also parade Lord Krishna's images through the city, accompanied by ecstatic crowds and musical bands.
The biggest event for Nepalese Hindu women is the Teej Festival. August and September are the months when it occurs. Every lady is dressed in the red color that characterizes the TEEJ festival in Nepal, and they are dancing and shouting folk songs. The day recalls the magnificent event when Lord Shiva's hand was won by Parvati, the Himalayan daughter, following hard meditation and fasting. On the first day of Teej, her mother sends her gift, food, and sarees to their daughter's house, and groups of ladies arrive to feast. Similarly, every lady prays to Shiva (goad) for a happy and bountiful long life for her husband.
Rishi Panchami is a celebration held immediately following Teej Puja. Hindu ladies place a high value on this festival because they think that observing the Rishi Panchmi fast and paying respect to Rishis (Saints) on this day will bless and absolve them of all their sins.
Indra Jatra is the biggest religious street celebration in Kathmandu, Nepal. The majority of the Newa communities participate in this eight-day event, known as Yen Ya (festival of Kathmandu). The Hindu god of rain and heaven, Indra, is honored at the event. However, believers of both Buddhism and Hinduism participate in the celebration of Indra Jatra. Basantapur or the Kathmandu Durbar Square region is where most of the celebrations take place.
The festival, also known as Kumari Jatra, features chariot races across the city that feature the goddess Kumari and the living gods Ganesh and Bhairav. On this day, the goddess Kumari leaves her home in the square, Kumari Ghar. The chariots are carried from Basantapur to other parts of town so that people can see the festival.
Ashoj (September 15 - October 14)
Dashain is Nepal's most important Hindu festival. Many people celebrate it as a magnificent celebration that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It's also a great time to reconnect with family members. People who live overseas or away from town all gather at their parent's house at the same time to celebrate the event by receiving blessings from elders. It falls between August and September.
The celebration lasts ten days. The most significant day of the event is the tenth. Ravana and King Ram engaged in a difficult battle for nine days before King Ram won on the tenth day. The primary focus of the day is donning Jamara, tika, and floral garlands and receiving blessings from the elderly. To celebrate the holiday, feasts are planned and relatives are invited to the home. It is also referred to as Bada Dashain or Bijaya/Vijaya Dashami.
Kartik (October 15 - November 14)
Tihar / Diwali
Tihar is also Nepal's most important Hindu festival. It is celebrated grandly by Hindu people. It is also known as the "Light Festival" because people decorate their homes with lamps, lights, and colors. This festival honors the goddess Laxmi by worshiping crows, dogs, cows, oxen, and Bhai Tika. On Bhai Tika, sisters wish their brother's long life, prosperity, and happiness, and numerous feasts are planned to commemorate the holiday.
Tihar is a major festival observed throughout the country. After Dashain, it is Nepal's second most important celebration, held between October and November. People sing folk music, go from house to home playing Deusi Bhailo, and have fun with friends and relatives.
Mha Puja, which in the Newari culture refers to worshipping oneself to energize and purify the soul, is observed by locals in the Kathmandu valley on the fourth day of the celebrations. It is also celebrated as the New Year of Newari peoples.
Chhath is one of the greatest festivals of Hindu people in the Terai region of Nepal. Based on the lunar calendar, this four-day event occurs in either November or October. The Terai community celebrates this holiday, which is celebrated by the locals of Mithila. The Sun God is honored throughout this festival's ceremonies for his kindness and illumination of the public. The villagers fast during the day and offer prayers for wealth and prosperity.
They sit down for a magnificent feast after worshiping the sunset. Other essential traditions of this event include a holy bath in the river, water diving, and the preparation of unique foods for the
Sun God, among others. You can enjoy in those treats once the fast is over. Anarsa and Thekuwa are the top foods to eat during this celebration. These meals are very rarely prepared at other times.
The Mani Rimdu Festival is a well-known celebration held in the monastery by Sherpa people who practice the Nying-Mapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Every year, this festival is held in the months of October or November. During this event, monks meditate for nine days, after which a public blessing and the celebrated mask dance at Tengboche monastery are performed. It is also observed in the Everest region's Chiwang monastery. A variety of rites are performed by Everest region monks during this event, along with singing and dance. The Tengboche monastery in the Everest region is thought to have held the inaugural celebration of this festival in 1930.
Mangsir (November 15 - December 14)
Sita Bibaha Panchami
Sita Bibaha Panchami is the auspicious day when princess Sita of Janakpurdham married prince Ram Chandra of Ayodhya. Sita was the daughter of Janak of Janakpur. She is also known as the Earth's Daughter. Ram was the son of Ayodhya's King Dasharath. On Marga Sulka Panchami, Sita and Ram were wedded. As a result, Marga sukla panchami is also known as Bibaha Panchami.
Lord Ram Chandra and Sita's wedding anniversary is commemorated at Janaki Mandir in Janakpurdham. Thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India have flocked to the temple. In Janaki temple, a spectacular festival is planned. The temple is decorated in the style of a traditional marriage Mandap (a Hindu marriage place).
Yomari is a sort of Newari dish, and Punhi is the Hindi word for the full moon. A holiday called Yamari Punhi is observed on the day of the full moon by making, consuming, and giving out Yamari. In the Kathmandu Valley, this celebration is particularly well-liked. Yomari denotes savory bread. The Newari holiday known as "Yomari Punhi" commemorates the conclusion of the rice harvest.
This holiday is traditionally celebrated to honor the harvest. Because of this, it is also known as Dhanya Purnima, a festival dedicated to Annapurna, the goddess of grains. Along with the mother goddess, Annapurna, people also worship Lord Ganesha, Laxmi, and the Kubera in various other places and at great distances. Additionally, the day used to be recognized as a customary day for handing the landowner a share of the rice harvest produced by tenant farmers. However, they no longer wait till Yomari Punhi.
Poush (December 15 - January 14)
Lho means year and Sar mean new, and together they make up Lhosar, the Tibetan word for the new year. One of Nepal's most well-known holidays is Tibetan New Year, or Lhosar, which is observed on various dates by various ethnicities. In contrast to Sonam Lhosar, which is observed by the Tamang and Yolmo populations, Tamu Lhosar is observed by the Gurung community. The Tibetan and Sherpa communities practice Gyalbo Lhosar, the third form. Dance, music, family get-togethers, greeting card exchanges, and gift-giving are all used to mark the start of the new year. On this holiday, families worship together while preparing special meals for the gods and goddesses. It is customary to drink changkol, a traditional Tibetan beverage derived from Chhaang and resembling beer, during Lhosar.
A nation renowned for its breathtaking geography is not lacking in cultural diversity. The culture of Nepal is rich and distinctive in its own right. However, Buddhism and Hinduism are the two largest religions in Nepal, which explains why there are so many monasteries and temples there. Even so, Christianity continues to play a significant role in Nepalese culture, and holidays like Dashain, Fagun Purnima or Holi, Buddha Jayanti, Tihar, and Lhosar are all observed with equal fervor.
The local Christian population, tourists visiting Nepal at that time, and other citizens all celebrate Christmas. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, people in Nepal typically celebrate by visiting churches. Several public locations now have decorations, which wasn't the case a few years ago. Due to the influence of tourism, Nepal is able to celebrate Christmas in style.
English New Year
People all across the world celebrate the start of a new year on the night of December 31st and the morning of January 1st. As soon as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, amazing fireworks displays are held in numerous locations throughout the world. Despite the fact that Nepal has a different calendar called Bikram Sambat, in which Baisakh 1 is observed as New Year's Day, there is also a New Year's celebration on January 1st. In many cities, there are fireworks, and people are happy to ring in the new year. In Nepal, New Year's is very different from a regular party. Here, you have the opportunity to try something new and ring in the new year with vigor and enthusiasm. Since the lunar calendar is used as Nepal's official calendar, the country is much quieter than other places. In order to start fresh in the new year and put all the unpleasantness of the previous year behind you, this time around welcome the new year in Nepal by engaging in some extreme activities or traveling to holy locations.
Magh (January 15- February 14)
On the first day of the Magh months in the Nepalese calendar, Maghe Sankranti is observed. It serves as a sign of the holy month, which typically begins in the middle of January. The event anticipates warmer weather, better days of health and wealth, and the conclusion of the chilly season. Families join together on this day to enjoy delectable food. Tradition dictates that people have sweet potatoes, yams, ghee, molasses, and sesame seed snacks.
The Tharu community in Terai also celebrates Maghi, the New Year, on the same day. They gather with relatives, eat delectable dishes, attend meals, and dress in traditional attire to rejoice.
The goddess Saraswati, the source of knowledge and music, is worshipped on this unique day known as Saraswati Puja, also known as Shri Panchami or Basant Panchami. It's anticipated that spring will officially begin from this day. Welcome to the Kuhu Kuhu of the cuckoo and the beginning of spring, the king of the seasons, after this heartbreaking winter and the shower of icy cold.
Falgun (February 15 – March 14)
One of the most important celebrations in Nepal is called Mahashivaratri, or the night of Shiva. Hindu mythology regards Lord Shiva as being the ultimate deity. According to legend, the stars are optimally aligned on the day of Shivratri, raising spiritual energy.
To commemorate Mahashivaratri, thousands of monks congregate at numerous Shiv temples around Nepal, particularly at Pashupatinath, one of the most well-known Nepalese temples. People who worship Shiv Linga at night decorate the temples with lamps and fast throughout the day. Shiva Lingas are cleaned with Panchamrit and holy water before being presented with flowers, mango leaves, peepal leaves, etc.
The captivating evening prayers and Aaratis must not be missed. Thousands of people attend the massive bazaar held surrounding the Pashupatinath Temple to watch sadhus perform the snake dance, circus acts, and dance, as well as to buy traditional and puja items. In Nepal, Mahashivaratri is one of the most revered holidays.
Holi, another name for Fagun Purnima, is derived from the name of the legendary demon Holika. Holi shares a tie to Hindu mythology with many other festivals in Nepal. It starts the good over evil struggle. According to tradition, Prahalad, a small child, was a follower of Lord Bishnu, whom his father, the demon king Mahisasur, regarded as a fatal foe. The demon king was so furious that he gave the command to kill his own son to Holika, who possessed fire immunity. Holika then sat on fire while clutching Prahalad, but she perished in the flames while the boy survived. People play Holi, a festival of joy, color, and celebration, to commemorate that miracle. Late February or early March is when Holi occurs. Even with tourists, Holi has grown in prominence in recent years.
One of the liveliest and most colorful celebrations in Nepal is Holi. People ignite bonfires as part of the festivity to commemorate the demon Holika's passing. Water balloons, water cannons, and dry colors are used to commemorate Fagun Purnima. It's also popular to combine lassi and bhang.
Chaitra(March 15- April 14)
The final month of the Nepali calendar, Chaitra is when Chaite Dashain takes place. On the day of Chaite Dashain, Goddess Durga is honored, and in some temples, particularly those honoring Durga Bhawani, animal sacrifices are carried out. This event is celebrated across the country of Nepal when people take the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones and friends, eat wholesome foods, and host parties for them. People maintain a fast and go to Lord Ram's temples the following day to commemorate Ram Navami.
The Hindu god Ram's "incarnation" day is known as Ram Navami. Ram, who is thought to have been Vishnu's seventh manifestation, is seen as something of an "ideal man" and as having assisted in the triumph of good over evil.
Ram Navami is celebrated by paying visits to temples devoted to Lord Rama. During this event, the Janaki Temple is very important, and hundreds of pilgrims visit it. This temple is especially significant because Rama's wife Sita is claimed to be from this town. This is an excellent opportunity to visit this beautiful temple and learn more about the Hindu holidays.