Festivals are a demonstration of the cultural feelings of any particular society at its beat. Festivals, through acts, and performances of celebration and rituals. And rituals, are fact not only a way of appeasing gods and goddesses but also for warding off evil, for pastoral and agricultural prosperity, longevity, happiness, and good health of human life.it also helps in strengthening familial and societal ties by way of gathering, merry-making, and socializing. Nepal is rich in multi-culture, multi-language, and multi-religion. There are many festivals celebrated in Nepal according to their religion.
Festival in Nepal starts with something religious and moves with casual spirit into a pleasant family feast as for a Nepalese religion has been influenced and has always been the core of Nepali culture.
There is a popular saying that in Kathmandu every next day is a festival and every other house is in a temple. Most festivals honor a deity with worshippers crowding around a shrine to worship. Great processions win through the streets of the three old cities, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, and other cities of Nepal. These processions are accompanied by bands of Newar musicians and masked dancers. Sometimes idols of Gods paraded in gigantic wooden chariot Rath unique to Nepal. Festivals are an important part of Nepalis society. It is the essence of their everyday life. These are the festivals celebrated in Nepal.
Dashain is the biggest festival and important festival of Nepal in Nepalese society. It is celebrated with great joy. Dashain marks the victory of the truth over untruth. Dashain is mainly celebrated by the Hindu people in Nepal. The celebration of Dashain has both social and religious importance in Nepalese culture. Dashain mainly falls in the month of September and it lasts for 10 days. Each day from start to the end has special rituals.
The first day of Dashain is called Ghatasthapana. On this day people plant rice and barley in the corner of their house and grow seedlings called Jamara. On the seventh day, Fulpati, The Jamara is brought from Gorkha Durbar Square to Hanumandhoka. On the 8th day, it is Asthami and on the ninth day, it is Navami. On both days people sacrifice goats, buffalo, ducks, and hens to worship Goddess Durga. They worship Goddess Durga for power and prosperity. Ans on the last day, 10th day, It will be Vijaya Dashami(Tika). On this day the Jamara is taken out. People receive tika(red-colored rice seeds) from the elders and also receive Jamara along with a blessing from the elders. All the family members gather together and celebrate with each other. This festival gives us the true meaning of brotherhood.
Tihar is another biggest and most important festival in Nepal after Dashain. It is also known as the “Festival of Lights”. After the end of Dashain, Tihar comes around. Tihar falls in the month of October. Tihar is not only celebrated in Nepal but also is celebrated in some of the states of India. In Nepal it is called “Deepawali” but in India, it is called “Diwali”. Tihar is celebrated all around Nepal. Tihar has a great significance in Nepalese society because it doesn’t show the contribution to god and human beings only but also animals and birds like a cow, dog, and cow that maintains an intimate relationship among human beings.
Tihar is celebrated for five days. Each day they worship animals and gods. The first day of Tihar is known as Kaag Puja (worshipping to crow). Crow is known as the “messenger of death” so, on that day it is believed that the crow is given a rest day. They worship crow and feed the crow. On the second day, It is Kukur Tihar( worshipping the Dog). It is believed that the dog can see the incoming danger and death. On that day the dogs are worshiped and people hung garland on the neck of dogs and put tika over their heads and legs. They are given delicious treats. On the third-day people worship cow and Goddess Laxmi. In The morning they worship the cow, hang garland on the neck of the cow, and put tika over their head. In the evening people decorate their house and rooms with various lights and also light Diyo (oiled-lamp). People clean their house and put small footprints from their entrance to their room to invite Goddess Laxmi. The people play Deusi Bhailo and celebrate the Laxmi Puja. On the fourth-day farmer worship, the ox and The people celebrate New year in the Newar community. On the last day, it is “Bhai Tika”. On this day the sisters worship their brothers by applying multicolor of tika(Saptarangi tika) wishing for their prosperity.
In the Spiritual month of Magh, the days begin to grow longer and warmer because the sun enters the southern hemisphere. Lord Vishnu the preserver is thanked for his efforts. In this Holy month of Maghe Sankranti People take bath early in the morning if possible in the holy river if not bath at home and visit the temple of Vishnu and flowers, rice incense, fruit, and sweet to him.
They read the Bhagwad, Gita also known as the song of the Gods, apply mustard oil over their bodies, and enjoy feast rice cooked with lentils, yams, or tarul-a must-and til ko laddu, sweets made of sesame and jaggery (sugarcane paste). Also, people from different parts of the country rush up to Devghat which is the assemblage of three rivers, to take a holy bath on this day.
Lhosar is the new year of Sherpa and Tibetans Caste and they welcome their New year gathering with friends and family and celebrate the festival offering feasts and dancing together. On these special days, families put on the new finest clothes and jewelry and exchange gifts with each other. In all monasteries, Buddhist monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity. The monastery and the Buddhist stupa is being decorated with colorful prayer flags, Paints the whole monastery and Nepal main stupa Bouddhanath and Swoyambhunath. Groups of celebrants at Boudhanath bring in the new year by throwing tsampa (roasted barley flour) into the air.
Basanta Panchami (Shree Panchami)
Basanta Panchami of Shree Panchami honors the deities of knowledge and learning. Hindus faith the goddess Saraswati and Buddhists the god Manjushri. Basanta Panchami declares the arrival of spring, with official ceremonies at Hanuman Dhaka. The day is also considered one of the auspicious in the year to get married. Basanta Panchami or Shree Panchami is the special day of goddess Saraswati the goddess of education so this special day is most popular for school children. From the sunrise, they line up at the Saraswati temple and pray to the god to get a good education they also write some alphabetic words at the Saraswati temple to convey a message to get a good education. Also on this special day believing to take blessing from the goddess Saraswati children are given first alphabetic lessons. So this Festival is associated with the instrument of arts and learning books at home
Maha Shivaratri is the festival of the God Shiva. On this special day of Maha Shivaratri in Pashupatinath Temple, one of the biggest Hindu pilgrimages in Nepal visits thousands of devotees, sadhus, and prayers to get blessed in Pashupatinath. This is an important festival in Nepal as Hindu worship lord Shiva.
Shiva’s sacred day begins at midnight but devotees don’t really begin streaming in, past a tremendous Variety of sadhus, mendicants of various types and deformities, devotees performing roadside penances (standing with a small trident thrust through the tongue, being buried up to the neck, etc.)And metro the scared lingam inside the temple and then bathe, or at least splash a little, in the river.
Hundreds of sadhus reside in attendance camps in the courtyards of the temples situated at the opposite bank, where non-Hindus are also free to wander. The inquisitive can witness some rather interesting yogic expressions there. It gets freezing in the evening, but there are usually several fires and lively scenes going at least till midnight when the consecrated time passes by.
On the same special day in Bhaktapur, devotees celebrate Shivaratri by playing a visit to the Dattatreya Temple in Tachapal, and people in other towns and villages of the valley celebrate it with bonfires and vigils.
Holi celebrates the death of the demoness Holika. According to the legend, it was said that Holika the sister of Hiranyakashipu wants to kill her nephew name Parladh who was the impassioned devotee of Lord Vishnu on the order of his brother Hiranyakashipu. She put the Parladh on her lap and set the fire beneath them to kill the Parladh but at the same time the boy remained unharmed and Holika, to her surprise, immolated herself. The rites of this festival celebrate her end.
The First-day Fagu Poornima Festival begins with the raising of the big Chir Pole in front of Kumari house at Basantapur. The meaning of Holi is winning day and playing with colors. Especially young people and children celebrate the Holi festival by throwing water balloons at each other and putting color on the faces and the whole body with each other.
Hindus celebrate Dashain twice a year in Nepal. Chaite Dashain is one of these. According to the Nepali calendar, this Chaite Dashain falls in the last month Chaitra. The festival is celebrated two days of this month and that is the day in the Chaitra Shukla Asthami and Navami tithi. So on this special day of Asthami is celebrated as Chaite Dashain and the day of Navami is known as Ram Navami. While celebrating Chaite Dashain on the day of Asthami people worship goddess Durga and many animal sacrifices in the temple of Durga Bhawani. Similarly, many buffalos and goats are sacrificed in Hanuman Dhoka of Kathmandu Durbar Square. Goats and buffaloes are the victims, beheaded by a single stroke of the sword.
Any visitors are slowed to view from a balcony overlooking the courtyard, with a splendid view of all the gore. The rites last about two hours and are concluded after the military commander smears each of the banners with the sacrificial blood.
Hindus worship God ram as a victory day, all Hindus worship Ram at the various temple in Janakpur. On this day also people make animal sacrifices which are the main activities of the day.
The ancient kingdom of Bhaktapur and its neighboring areas recap a drama passed on over the centuries during this important festival. Images of wrathful and somewhat demonic deities are placed on tottering chariots, Raths. They are offered blood sacrifices, flowers, and coins. Men brimming with youthful vigor and rice beer, drag the chariots across brick-paved streets of the town, and where ever these raths stop, lamps are lit and devotees overflow into the surrounding valleys. More gods and goddesses too are put on Chariots and carried around so that they may see the sights. There is a tongue-boring ceremony at Bode village, Thimi in which there is a belief that the dedicated will be reserve a place in heaven.
In Nepal Mother’s Day is celebrated by looking at Mother’s Face. On this day the children pray for their mother’s good health and prosperity. The family gathers together and they celebrate the festival providing sweets and gifts to the mother in return all the children take bliss from the mother. But those who do not have a mother or whose mother had already died. Those people visit the Mata Tirtha On this day, a special Mela is organized at Mata Tirtha. In Mata Tirtha there are two pools for bathing the lower one is bigger to use. The smaller upper one is called the pond of “Looking at Mother’s Face”, for it is believed, or was believed, one could see the face of one’s mother in the pool’s reflection.
The first superhero that any child meets in their life is a Father. At the growing age of any child, their father will always be their role model. Father’s day in Nepal is known as Kuse Ausi or Gokarne Ausi. It lies in Bhadra month(September).
On this day who had lost their father give Sida Daan(holy mixture of rice grain and other food with clothes) to Pandit in remembrance of their father. Some travel to Gokarna to do the pinda daan or some do Sharadhha in their home. People who have their father celebrate this day by buying them gifts and sweets and in return, they receive blessings from their father. They also cook delicious food and celebrate together.
Buddha Jayanti is a special occasion for both Hindus and Buddhists. They celebrate this day as the day of the Buddha Siddartha’s birth, enlightenment, and death. His birthplace-Lumbini Grove is in the Terai region of Nepal. Buddhists of all persuasions all over the valley, as well as pilgrims from abroad, honor the Buddha on this day, most particularly at the two great stupas and the largely Buddhist city of Patan. Activity at the main Buddhist stupas and shrines begins at down. In this Buddha Jayanti, Swayambhunath and Boudhanath will be the busiest sites for the day.
Red Machhendranath Jatra
Until a few decades ago, before the Kathmandu valley become a purely commercial hub, it was agricultural land, which depended upon the rainy monsoon for its important rice crop. Today, though traditional farming practices have reduced, the per-monsoon season still sees great worship made to Red Machhendranath-the rain god.
Patan Durbar Square and around the street are made even more expressive by wavering lamp and candle lights, women busily cooking feasts, and men gathering strength to pull the chariot of their red deity. During the time that lord Machhendranath glimpses his followers from the high seat of his chariot, its four wheels – describing the powerful Bhairab-accept rice and vermilion powder, the king of snake is asked for a blessing, and his jeweled vest is shown to the public. Gathan-Muga (Ghantakarna)
Gathan-MUGA signals the end of the rice-planting season and the beginning of the autumn festival season. The festival itself (known variously as Gathemangal and Ghantakarna) represents the ritual detoxification of the city. Evil spirits that might have sneaked in during the rice-planting season on the farmers of on their tools are banished outside the urban limits to preserve the city’s harmony.
This day honors the Nagas, the snake-gods, who in Nepal are associated with rain. The festival is a celebration of an ancient victory of a king, who was also a Tantric master. Over the nags, who had been withholding the rain. The king forced their submission by casting magic spells over them. Worship of the Nags on this day, a compromise the conqueror graciously bestowed, ensures there will be on brought. Nepalese Nag portraits from the street stalls the day before and on the morning of Nag Panchami attach these over their doorways. They then perform a small puja and leave a food offering in the yards and paddies for the snakes.
Janai Purnima (Rakshya Bandhan)
Janai Purnima is a special day for the Hindu people to change the Janai. The Janai means the sacred thread that all the Hindu brahmins men wear on their chests. This full moon day sees folks of Brahmins ( Hindu priests) at the holy riverbanks. They take ritual dips in the water and offer ablution to gods. After purifying the whole body they change their Janai which are sacred threads and also on this it is believed that if people tie yellow sacred threads around the wrists get the blessing from the gods.
Newars of the Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan valley call this festival the Gunhi punhi. On this day Newars People also Purify their body taking a shower at home and visiting the temple to tie yellow sacred threads to get the blessing from god. And every newar home cook the special soup dish called kuwati it is the soup of different sprouted beans
kumbherswar in patan, richly decorated lingam, the phallic symbol of lord shiva, it placed on a raised platform in the middle of the kumbherswar (knowanti) pond to received homage form devotees. One more ceremony which celebrates here is Byan –JA nakegu, It means rice is given to the frogs in gratitude to get a good rain. The next day in Bhaktapur preclude to saparu, a jujuya ghinatanghishi (kings carnival)goes around town. The participants dress in extravagant costumes and gambol to the tune of traditional music.
The meaning of Gai Jatra in simple words Gai means Cow and Jatra means celebration movement. This Gai Jatra festival falls on the month of Bhadra ( August – September ) according to the Nepali calendar on the day after Janai Purnima. If we see the legendary this Gai Jatra was first started by the king of Kathmandu Pratap Malla. Malla queen was being mourned for a long time after the death of her son. Pratap Malla wants to show her belove Malla Queen that she was not the only one with this suffering of missing family. From then generation to generation this festival has been celebrated. In Kathmandu, this festival is mainly celebrated. From every house who have lost their family member during the year they circle around the pared of decorated cows and also the kids dress up and make up like cows and make the journey in procession along with the festival. During the journey on the way, roadside other family members are waiting to provide small packets filled with sweets, fruits, money, juice to the kids and cows. In the afternoon Humorous and satirical items are included to help be received families get over their grief. There are some comedians making street shows making fun of government officials.
Lord Krishna, the dark god who taught warrior Arjuna the value of karma in the Bhagwad Gita, was born at midnight on the eighth day of the dark moon of August. To celebrate the birthday of this much-loved Hindu god, devotees flock to the Krishna Mandir in Patan on a preceding day.
Around this 17th-century temple people from far and wide gather at night singing praises of Lord Krishna whole night and day. Not only these but images of lord Krishna also carried circles around the city in a procession accompanied by joyous crowds of followers and musical bands.