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Festivals

Shivaratri observed in Nepal

Kathmandu, Feb 17 – Hindu devotees all over the country celebrated the great festival of Mahashivaratri by worshipping Lord Shiva at various rivers, ponds and temples since early morning. Shivaratri, literally means an auspicious night, is one of the four nights known as Kaalratri, Moharatri, Sukharatri and Shivaratri, and is regarded as one of the greatest festivals in the holy scriptures of the Hindu—the Puranas. Read More

Tihar: The Festival of Lights begins

With lamps banishing the darkness of the new moon night, fireworks lighting up the sky and people exchanging greetings, Tihar is a festival like no other. Tihar, one of the largest festivals for Nepali Hindus after Dashain starts today. Also known as Yampanchak, the festival is observed for five days.

The first day of Yamapanchak, Kaag Tihar (worship of crows) is celebrated by offering sweets and food to the crows. According to Hindu mythology, crow is considered the messenger of Yama. As the cawing of the crows symbolizes sadness and grief, the devotees offer the crows food to avert grief and deaths at their homes. This festival is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to Yama, the god of death, and animals including crow, dog, cow and ox, which maintain a close relationship with humans. Read More

Fun ways to celebrate this Dashain

Dashain, the biggest and the most anticipated festival of Nepal is always celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm. As the carefree and happy feeling envelopes us, we know Dashain is truly here. Imagine days of fun and frolic with family and friends. We are sure you have plans for this annual festival. But we have still compiled a list of exciting ways to celebrate this Dashain.

Enjoy the festive delicacies

Mutton delicacies will be enjoyed all over the country, no doubt. But you can actually tantalize your taste buds with new recipes. Ditch the tried and tested recipes this year and go for some new ones. Recipes will be easily available on the Internet. Looking up Indian recipes means that you will get different recipes from each corner of the country. There are delectable sounding dishes like ‘Mutton Do-Pyaaza’, ‘Mutton Korma’, ‘Mutton Bhuna Gosht’, ‘Handi Kebab’ or ‘Kheema Kofta Curry’ to dig into. Read More

Indra Jatra Celebrations

Legends say that the Indra Jatra festival is observed to celebrate the victory of the gods over the demons to release Jayanta, the son of Lord Indra. This colorful autumn festival which is also known as Kumari Jatra, is celebrated by both the Hindus and Buddhists. The festival is believed to have started by King Gunakamadeva during 18th and is named after Lord Indra who is known as the god of rain and also as the King of heaven.

Indra Jatra festival falls on the fourth day of the waxing moon in the month of Bhadra as per the lunar calendar. It is celebrated in the three districts of the Kathmandu Valley and in Kavre and Dolakha for 7 days. Indra, the Hindu god of rain and good harvest, is worshiped in this festival. The festival is celebrated by both the Hindus and Buddhists and lasts for eight days with singing, mask dancing and rejoicing. Read More

Lhasa’s Drepung Monastery comes alive for Shoton festival

LHASA, Aug 28: The usually quiet city came to life with hundreds of people, if not thousands, thronging the Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). They came as early as five in the morning for the Shoton festival that started this year, according to the Tibetan calendar, on August 25.

“This is a regional Tibetan festival and it´s celebrated in different parts of Tibet,” says Zou Yuheng, a staffer at the TAR Information Office, explaining that Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, which is the largest monastery in the world, is the main venue for the festival.

Built in 1416, Drepung Monastery is situated at the foot of Gambo Utse mountain. The monastery looks from afar like a heap of rice, and hence its name. Dre in Tibetan means rice and pung signifies collecting. To reach the monastery on the first day of the five-day festival, people have to walk for two to three hours as all motorable roads leading to it are closed off. What makes the journey even more strenous is the fact that almost half the going is up a steep hill. Some people opt to head for the monastery surroundings on the eve of the festival and pitch tents for the night. Read More

Lakhey: The demonic dancer

lakhe

His huge, terrifying mask depicting cavernous eyes, notched, saw-like teeth and protruding fangs can instill terror on the onlookers, while those long, dark-red wig and wild, gyrating movements complete the awe-inspiring countenance.

Lakhey is a demon in Newari folklore. But he’s often defined as ‘the deity among the demons’.   Believed to be a carnivorous demon who occupies the woods, Lakhey is said to have had a covenant with the cities’ early settlers who ensured its domain and even allowed it access to the cities in return for the security of the inhabitants. Read More

Gaijatra festival: In memory of the departed

gaijatra

The traditional festival of Gaijatra translated as ‘cow festival’ was observed on Monday amidst fun, gaiety, humor, satire and entertainment throughout the country. The festival, beginning on the first day of the waning moon in the month of Bhadra as per the lunar calendar, lasts for a week.

Legends have it that King Pratap Malla initiated the festival in the 17th century, asking the subjects to come out with cows and mimicry, particularly to console his bereaved wife after their son’s untimely death. The festival dedicated to the dead family is celebrated mainly by Newar communities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, and other districts. The festival is celebrated by taking out family processions in the memory of deceased family members. One of the members of the family is dressed as a cow and is mandated to lead the family procession. It is believed that the celebration of Gai Jatra opens up the way to heaven for the deceased family members. Read More