Nepal is distinctly known as the world of colorful vibrant festivals. Most of the festivals celebrated in Nepal have religious connotation and some are based on important events from ancient mythology and epic literature.
Nepalese have diverse beliefs and ethnic backgrounds. Despite these facts, all unite in the celebration of the year’s major festivals. Festivals such as Dashain and Tihar are of national signiﬁcance; such as Bisket Jatra or Rato Machchhendranath Jatra, belong to the traditions of the old Valley towns and still others, such as Chait, are observed only by a particular ethnic community.
The vivid cultural diversity of Nepal can be observed in the difference of different festival celebrations. Here are depicted the 10 major festivals in Nepal.
Dashain and Tihar
The biggest and most popular festivals based on religion are: Dashain and Tihar in Nepal. Dashain, a celebration of Goddess Durga’s victory over evil Mahisashur, has symbolic meaning deeply rooted in Nepalese society. Tihar, a celebration of lights and color dedicated to Goddess Laxmi, too unfolds social joy throughout the nation.
Buddha Jayanti is celebrated to mark the birthday of the Lord Buddha which dates back in about 543 BC. It falls on the full moon night of either May or June. The peace lover and Buddhist communities like to make their pilgrimage at Buddha’s birth place Lumbini of Nepal in this auspicious day.
Gai Jatra is one of the most popular festivals generally celebrated in between August-September. Even though Gai Jatra has presence throughout the country, it has most strongholds in the Newari community of Kathmandu valley. This festival has its roots in the belief that the god of death, Yamaraj, must be feared and hence worshiped.
Janai Purnima keeps the sacred meaning in Hindu community of Nepal. On this same day Rakshya Bandhan is also celebrated where every Hindu ties a sacred thread. Janai Purnima maintains the holy significance where as Rakshya Bandhan makes stronger the love and respect in between and among sisters and brothers.
Teej is a celebration of fasting in which women pray for marital bliss, well being of their spouse and children and purification of their own body and soul. It takes place on August and September. In the present context, the festival has connotation with rights of women.
Shree Krishna Janmastami
Shree Krishna Janmastami marks the celebration of the birth of Lord Sri Krishna. Lord Krishnais regarded as the 8th avatar or ‘incarnation’ of Lord Vishnu. It falls on August and September. This festival is hugely celebrated throughout the country.
Fagun Purnima, allegedly named after the mythical demoness Holika, is a day when the feast of colors is celebrated. The ancient Holi festival falls on late February or on early March. It has growing popularity among Nepalese even today and it is amazingly celebrated throughout the nation.
Maghe Sankranti is the harbinger of the holy month usually in the mid of January. The festival hopes to bring end of cold season and expect to coming of warmer weather and better days of health and fortune.
Indrajatra falls in August and September. Both Hindus and Buddhists unite to celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm. Indrajatra has historic significance in Nepal as well.
Mahashivaratri is the celebration dedicated to the Lord Shiva which falls in February and March. It is the celebration of birthday of supreme god of Hindu mythological figure. Thousands and thousands of visitors make their pilgrimage visit in Kathmandu on this day.
Apart from these festivals, Nepal celebrates more and more other regional, communal and seasonal festivals. Visit to Nepal, no matter which time of the year, promises a rewarding festive experience.