Nepal Festivals Information

Festivals are an essential part of Nepalese life that garners tremendous local participation. It offers visitors a valuable opportunity not only for having fun but gaining insight into various aspects of Nepalese culture.The religious festivals follow the lunar calendar, while national festivals have fixed dates. Wherever or whenever you arrive in Nepal, you can be pretty sure of being at the right time for one or more special events. Some of the major and interesting festivals are presented below.

 

New Year or Navavarsha (April)
The Nepalese New Year’s Day usually falls in the second week of April. The day is observed as a national holiday. The people celebrate it with a great pomp and show. On this occasion, Bisket Jatra is held in the city of Bhaktapur & Thimi.

 

Buddha Jayanti (April)
It is a great day for the Nepalese. This auspicious day falls on the full moon of the month of Baisakh. People celebrate to commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, more than 2500 years ago.

 

Mani Rimdu (Nov)
It is the greatest annual festival of the Sherpa community observed in the Khumbu region and Kathmandu for three days. This festive ceremonies start with the blowing of horns in the afternoon of the first day.

 

Gaijatra - Cow festival - (July-August)
It is a carnival held in the month of July-August and it lasts for eight days. Dancing, singing, comedy and anything that causes mirth and laughter are its highlights.

 

Krishnastami (July-August)
It marks the birthday of Lord Krishna. On this day, worshippers carry ornate, decorated statues and pictures of Lord Krishna through the streets, often with bands of musicians following or preceding the procession in Patan. Thousands of devotees flock to the Krishna temple to worship and receive blessings. Euphoric prayers and incantations fill the air and small oil lamps are lit as a mark of felicitation and devotion to the deity. Images of Lord Krishna are also carried around the city in a procession accompanied by joyous followers with musical bands.

 

Indrajatra (August-September)
The festival of Indra, the God of rain, is observed with great enthusiasm in Kathmandu Valley. This colourful festival lasts for eight days to honour Lord Indra, King of heaven. The chariot of Kumari, the living Goddess, is taken out in procession through the main streets of Kathmandu.

 

Dashain or Durga Puja (September-October)
The Dashain festival is the most important festival of the Nepalese. The entire country is in enthusiastic holiday mood at the time of this festival. The Nepalese cherish their Dashain as a time for eating well and dressing well. Each house sets up shrines to worship the Goddess at this time.

 

Tihar (Deepawali, October-November)
Known as the festival of Lights, Tihar is celebrated for five days. Houses are illuminated at night and special sweets of different varieties are prepared. Hindu people worship goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.

 

Bibhaha Panchami (November-December)
This is a famous festival of Janakpur in the eastern Terai. The occasion commemorates the marriage of Sita to Ram, one of the most venerated Hindu divinities. It attracts thousands of pilgrims from India to Janaki Temple in Janakpur.

 

Lhosar (February)
The festival is most impressively observed by the Sherpa community. They organize folk sings and dances on this occasion. These dances can be seen in Khumbu, Helambu and other northern regions of Nepal and also at Bouddhanath in Kathmandu.

 

Maha Shivaratri (February-March)
Shivratri or the Night of Lord Shiva is observed in February-March. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair takes place in the Pashupatinath Temple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and India flock to the temple to worship Lord Shiva.

 

Ghodejatra (March-April)
Known as the festival of horses, it is one of the most exciting festivals of Kathmandu. Horse race and other sports take place at Tundikhel on this day. In other parts of the city, various deities are carried shoulder-high on Palanquin (khat) to the accompaniment of traditional music.

 

Teej (August- September)
Teej is a Hindu festival celebrated by women. Dancing, folk song and the red color of women’s wedding saris dominate the days of Teej. The days recall heavenly occasion when parvati, daughter of the Himalaya, won the hand of Lord Shiva after severe meditation and fasting.