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Category: Festivals

Festivals of Nepal

Recent Posts

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.

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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.

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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.

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Chhayanath festival concludes

MUGU, Aug 10:A festival at famous Hindu shrine Chhayanath in the district has concluded on Sunday after being observed for 15 days.

The festival that comes to an end on the day of ´Janai Purnima´ is celebrated every year.

Devotees from within and outside the district massively participated in the festival to worship god Chhayanath Thakur.

The holy place Chhayanath is also counted as one among world’s top four holy shrines. It is located at an altitude of 5000 meters from the sea level, and can be reached with 3 days trek from the Mugu headquarters.

Source: myrepublica.com

Farmers in Bhaktapur worship and feed frogs to mark Janai Purnima

BHAKTAPUR, Aug 10: Farmers of Bhaktapur kicked off the Janai poornima festival by worshipping and feeding frogs in their fields this morning.

Farmers here regard frogs as the harbinger of rainfall and god of nature and feed them with special delicacies including rice on this auspicious day.

The tradition of feeding frogs is known as Byanja Naka Banegu in local language.
Farmers also revere the frogs as they are believed to help increase agriculture production by feeding on the insects in the field.

Furthermore, the event is also a way to relieve a farmer from the sin of accidently killing frogs while tilling the land during the time of plantation, according to culture expert Om Dhaubadel.

Source: myrepublica.com

Nag Panchami: The festival of Snakes being observed across the nation

Nag Panchami, the festival of snakes, isn’t for the faint of heart! This festival is all about the worship of snakes. Hindus are observing the Nag Panchami festival today as per the time-honored tradition. Nag Panchami is a festival dedicated to Nag or the serpent god and is observed on the fifth day of the bright half of the Nepali month of Shrawan as per the lunar calendar.

On this day, the head of the family or a priest pastes a picture of the Nag or the snake god above the main door of the house and offers worship to the serpent deity. The Nag is taken as the god of water and rain, and as per the religious belief it is said that the house where the Nag deity resides is bestowed with wealth and prosperity.

It is believed that the worship of the snake goes back to the time before the ancient Vedic era. There is also the belief that pasting the picture of the Nag deity on the doorway of houses provides protection from thunder bolt, lightning and fire as well as attacks by snakes and scorpions.

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