Nepal is a colorful country full of life and diversity. It’s a home for 123 ethnic groups, each of them having a unique culture, traditions, and language. Most of the Nepalese are Hindu and Buddhist but Nepal also homes Muslims, Christians, Sikh, Jain and other religions with equal love. All of them not only respect but also celebrate each other’s festivals. It is said that almost every day, there is some kind of festival being celebrated in some part of Nepal. But during the major festivals, the whole nation looks lost in the charm. Likewise, Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal is stuffed with peoples of every cast, language, and tradition. You can see many festivals being celebrated in Nepal during a different time of the months. And here’s the list of Festivals and Celebrations in Nepal:
It’s not the main festival of Nepal, but it’s the most colorful one. Also nicknamed as “the festival of colors” Holi signifies of victory of good against evil. It is mainly celebrated by the Hindus as a death day of the evil asur Holika. During Holi, people put colors and water to each other while exchanging their wishes. People also prefer to drink bhang lassi. This festival not only brings hope for people to do good and love among each other.
There’s no particular date for Holi, it is celebrated in full moon of Falgun month as per Nepalese calendar- falls in February or March every year.
Vijaya Dashami Festival
It Is the biggest festival of Nepalese people- especially celebrated by the Hindus. “Vijaya Dashami” can be translated to “ten days of victory”. It is believed that goddess Durga killed the evil from the world by in those ten days. The festival is celebrated for ten days somewhere between October November annually.
People make swings to play in their house and hunt down goats as a sacrifice to goddess Durga. In the 10th day, people put on tika and blessings from the elder ones. This festival not only brings joy and happiness but binds the family together.
Maha Shivaratri Celebration
It is another interesting festival in Nepal. It is the festival to show people’s gratitude for Lord Shiva and his greatness. The festival is celebrated in the month of February or March.
It is believed that Lord Shiva performed a cosmic dance “Tandav” on this very day. The main center for Maha Shivaratri celebration is Pashupatinath temple. The pilgrims from different parts of Nepal and India chant songs of Shiva and dance. During the evening people gather around a bonfire and stay awake all night.
Tihar Festival in Kathmandu:
It is one of the Hindu’s biggest festivals. It’s the festival about brother and sister’s lover. It’s the festival of lights.
Tihar is celebrated two weeks after Dashain and lasts for four days. For the first day, people worship crow- earlier known as a messenger for the human. For the second day, people worship Kukur (Dog) for guarding and protecting their houses. Then its Laxmi puja- goddess of wealth and Gai puja. During evening girls play “Bhaili” singing and dancing in traditional costumes. Next is Govardhan puja, or Mha puja (in Newar community).
The last day, Bhai Tika is the day when sisters put 7-colored tika to their brothers and put them the mala of Makhamali flower. The event is celebrated with the belief that lord of death, Yamaraj will extend their brother’s life.
Indra Jatra Festival
You can call Indra Jatra the biggest street festival inside the valley. This festival also known as Yenya ( meaning Kathmandu celebration) was initiated in the 10th century to mark the foundation of Kathmandu by a king named Guna Kaam Dev.
Indra Jatra is celebrated for 8 days, from the 12th day of the bright fortnight to 4th day of the dark fortnight. Also, you can march to Durbar squares where people gather and play cultural instruments during the festival.
It is one of fun festivals celebrated for a beautiful reason, especially by the Newar community. The day falls somewhere between August or September. As per Hindu myth, once a king named Pratap Malla lost his son. His beloved queen got stuck on the grief of her son’s death. So the king decided to bring a rally of people who have lost their family member so they could share their grief.
In the memory and respect of the dead ones, this festival is celebrated. Also, the holy animal cow who is believed to help them in the way of heaven is worshiped. Further, people rally with the photo of their loved ones and members of the family perform the dance with a stick in traditional music.
Bisket Jatra in Bhaktapur
Also called “Jatra of Golden Chariot”, it’s the major festival in Bhaktapur. The festival is celebrated in mid-April, which is the last day of the Nepali year calendar.
During the event, a golden chariot is pulled over streets until it reaches a place named “Khalna tole”. Further, over the place, a pole of about 25m is held up high and demolished the next day. This symbol of ending the old day and turning it into a new year.