Comprising mighty mountains and high lands and fertile plains, Nepal is the most beautiful destination for all kind of tourism. Nepal boasts biodiversity in large scale and provides an immense opportunity for every traveler. Despite its natural beauty and high mountains, tourist visit this land of paradise for its unique and fabulous culture, tradition, festivals and many more. Nepal is a multiethnic country and has multiple culture and tradition. There are so many celebrations and festivals in Nepal due to multiple ethnic groups residing here. Festivals are the way to represent the preserve culture and tradition, joy of victory and celebration of happy bonding. There are so many festivals celebrated in Nepal throughout the year. Some major festivals in Nepal which are celebrated by the participation of almost all Nepalese are listed below
Dashain / Vijaya Dashami / Bada Dashain
Dashain is one of the biggest and longest festivals celebrated in Nepal. Dashain usually falls on the month of Ashoj or Mid of October. Dashain is a festival of Hindu(approx. 80% of Nepal population) and celebrated as a joy of victory over evil Mahihasur by goddess Durga. Dashain starts from the day of Ghatasthapana when people keep jamara( grain sapling ) in their house and start the festival. People continue worshipping goddess Durga for 9 days till and is believed that it takes goddess Durga 10 days to kill the Mahisasur. The biggest day of the festival is the tenth day-Vijayadashami when the family gets together, put on tika and jamara from the elders and get blessings too. People observe this day with delicious foods, new clothes, feast and lot more. The Dashain last for 15 days till Kojagrat Purnima. Dashain is a festival of bonding, friends, family, and relatives unite together in these festivals and celebrate together.
Tihar is best known as the festival of lights and flowers. Tihar usually falls after week and a half after Dashain on the month of Kartik. Tihar is the second biggest festival celebrated in Nepal and last for 5 days. The first day of Tihar is Kag tihar when people offer food to the crow either in rooftop or yard around the home. Crow is considered as the messenger of death and people worship it to bring good news onward. On the second day of the Tihar dog is worshipped with flowers and tika and garland as it is the guard of the home and keep people safe. The third day of the Tihar is Laxmi puja and is celebrated with worshipping the goddess of wealth Laxmi. People decorate and clean their house, and make rangolis in their home. On this day group of girls play Bhaili visiting home to home. The fourth day is marked as the Govardhan puja and people worship oxen for its good deeds to the farmers. On the other hand, Newar community people celebrate this day as Nepal Sambat and Mha puja ( worshiping one’s self-body and life). Group of boys plays Deusi visiting home to home and enjoy with singing and dancing. The final day of the Tihar is Bhaitika( Brother’s day) when sisters worship their brother and celebrate together exchanging delicious foods and gifts.
Holi or Falgu Purnima is best known as the festival of colors and celebrated by all religions and ethnic clans widely in Nepal. Holi is celebrated as the joy of death of evil Holika, that is why this festival is also known as Holika Dahan. This festival origin story starts with the Hiranyakashyap a powerful king on Earth who want to be worshipped as a God. His evilness has no limits and people suffered a lot from him. His son Prahlad was the devotee of Lord Vishnu and was a headache for Hiranyakashyap. Hiranyakashyap tries many ways to kill his son but everytime Lord Vishnu save him and in between those many ways he orders his sister Holika to take Prahlad with him into the burning fire as Holika was blessed not to be burned by fire. But evil Holika was burned and Prahlad was saved by Lord Vishnu. Due to this reason, the festival of Holi is celebrated with colors. This festival unites the society together and strengthens the bonding.
Teej is one of the major festivals of Nepal celebrated by the Hindu women. Teej is the best time for every Hindu woman to rejoice and socialize and enjoy the company of family, relatives, and friends. It is believed that goddess Parvati underwent fasting with the believe and hope to get married to Lord Shiva. Teej is best described as the devotion offered by women towards gods in belief to have a long life of their husband and to get a good husband. Women observe nirjala fasting( fasting even without a drop of water) for 24 hours for the wellness of their spouse and to have a happy and prosperous married life. On this day women get dressed in red saree and cholo with other jewelry ornaments and enjoy the day with dancing and singing after worshipping Lord Shiva in the morning. This festival is observed for 3 days and the first day is marked as the Dar khane din when married women go to their Father house and enjoy delicious meals with the family. The second day is Teej and women fast this day. The third day of the Teej is the Rishi Panchami and is observed by the women by taking a holy bath with the mud of Datiun root. Teej is a festival of devotion and a true rejoice to every Hindu woman.
Maghe Sankranti falls on the first day of the month of Magh. This day is considered to be the coldest day of the year and also a hopeful day for forthcoming warmer and cool days. Maghe Sankranti or Makar Sankranti is widely celebrated by all Hindu in Nepal and especially by Newar people of Kathmandu valley and Tharu people in Terai region. The Maghe Sankranti is marked by taking a holy bath in the holy river throughout Nepal. Food such as sweet potatoes, laddoos(especially of sesame) and ghee are distributed among the people and family prepare delicious dishes and observe this day as a fiesta too. Tharu people celebrate this festival for a week starting from the last of Poush to the 3rd of Magh by singing, dancing and special dish “Dhikri” made from rice flour and liquors and meats. It’s also the day commemorating the death of Vishwapitamaha, the elderly grandfather of two families of Pandavas and Kauravas, between whom the epic battle of Mahabharat took place.
Janai Purnima/Raksha Bandhan
Janai Purnima is another major festival celebrated by the Hindu in Nepal. On this day Hindu men replace the old sacred thread(Janai) with the new one after taking holy bath. The Hindu priest visits home to home and put on the sacred thread around the right hand of the family members. This is also celebrated by Hindu people as a Raksha Bandhan which is celebrated among brothers and sisters representing their bonding and put on the sacred band on the hand of each other. This day is also observed as the Kwati Khane din, people prepare a special dish called Kwati which is made out of the legume seeds of different lentils.