DASHAIN (In October)
Dashain is the main festival for Nepalese. Despite the various caste and religion, they celebrate Dashain equally. Even Buddhist respects it. It is celebrated for 11 consecutive days during the months of October. The festival begins from the first day: Ghatasthapana, Phool Pati, Mahaastami, Nawami and Vijaya Dashami simultaneously. It is a celebration of Goddess Durga’s victory over demon Mahisasur. Symbolically victory of virtues over demonic force. On the first day people plant for cereal grass which is later used as the form of flower on Dashami. Eighth and ninth day, people worship goddess durga by offering goats, hen, ducks, buffalo. During the days children are gifted with new clothes. The 10th day is knows as Vijaya Dashami, Nepalese put Tika from respected, relatives, priest. Tika is making by mixing rice and red color. Junior gets blessing from senior.
TIHAR, Brother & sister festival (November)
Tihar is another equally important festival for Nepali. It is also called the festival of light and flowers. This festival falls on the month of November. The fest remains for five days. The first day is the day of crow; known as kag (crow) festival, on the day people give delicious food. They worship crow, believing that crow brings message to them. Crow is the symbol of message, post person. Then after comes Kukur Tihar(Dog festival), on the day the similar ritual followed, people worship dog by putting garland on dog neck. Dog is the symbol of Security. Simultaneously, Cow festival, Laxmi Tihar (fest of wealth), Bhai Tika are celebrated. Bhai Tika is the special day, in which day brother and sister worship each other and offer delicious food, dresses, and nuts for blessing long-life. So the fest is called as the festival of Brother- Sister Festival.
MAGHE SANGRANTI (Mid-January)
The Maghe Sangrtati generally falls on January 14. On the day people take bath on sacred river early in the morning. On the process of bathing people are seen gathered in Trisuli, Narayani, and Baghmati River singing and dancing. They visit to temple to homage Lord Vishnu (Hindu God).Not only the Hindus, Buddhist also celebrate this festival. Nepali family enjoys a hearty delicious meal comprising rice cooked with lentils, yams and sweets like laddu made from sesames and sugarcane paste etc. people believes that this day onwards, days get longer and warmer.
Basanta Panchami is also called Shree Panchami or Saraswoti Puja and is celebrated on 13th February. This day is very special for students. They take bath, wear clean clothes, worship God Saraswati (goddess of learning and knowledge), books and visit temple to worship goddess. Students believe that worshipping the goddess on this day broadens up their knowledge and will get progress on further studies. Parents who have toddlers at home take them to temples and make them write on the Temples. This day also bears cultural and religious significance for Buddhists who prioritize this day for worshipping God Manjushree. Astrologically, Shree Panchami is an ideal day for lovers to get a marriage.
Lhosar is celebrate as new year by Sherpas, Gurung and Tibetan peoples. Nepal governments announced public holiday on the day for them who celebrates Lhosar. They openheartedly enjoy the fest from 9th to 11th February with delicious feasts, family, relatives, and friends. They wear the finest clothes and jewelry; also send gift and wishing message to friends. Buddha Stupa and Swayambhu stapes are adorned with attractive decorations. People throw roasted barley flour, on the air as a sign of welcoming their New Year.
On the day Nepalese people mixes the reality of life and death with humor. Grieved People who lost near and dear come altogether and set out for funeral Procession wearing dress as similar with cow, other comical characters. They cast the message to rest of the people that No one is far from death, it is in born reality, no one could dismiss or avoid. The theme is that death is inevitable; everybody should face and deal with bitter reality. The festival has mythical value that a queen after the death of her son went into depression. King wanted to get his queen out of her sorrow and so he introduced a festival called Gai jatra where bereaved families were presented before the queen. This made the queen realize that so many other people were also in the similar pain like her. This helped her ease her pain. People on this day can make satirical comments at any one even the government. Street dramas are performed criticizing renowned public figures and government system except legal authorities. Several newspaper and magazines publish satirical articles. Everyone is forgiven for soft satirical expression and comment toward anyone. On the day Nepalese use their rights: freedom of expression.
Their mothers with sweets, fruits, clothes and jewelries as a token of their love and affection. Mothers are made to feel very special on this particular day. For those whose mothers have already expired, they in memory of their mothers take early morning bath and pray for the departed souls. Motherless Nepalese go to Mata Tirtha to take bath and offer alms of rice, pulses and coins to the priests in the name of their mothers. A mela is also held at Mata Tirtha.
BUDDHA JAYANTI (May)
23rd of May being the birthday of Gautam Buddha is celebrated by both Buddhists and Hindus as Buddha Jayanti. People in Kathmandu visit Swayambunath, Boudhnath and other temples of Buddha to pay their homage to Buddha. Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha, is beautified with amazing decorations. Buddhists from all over the world gather here to celebrate the occasion.
Teechi is a very special festival for Upper Mustang people. It is celebrated on the last week of May and continues for three consecutive days. Legend has it that when evil Man Tam Ru destroyed humankind and brought about enormous natural catastrophe, Doorjee Sonnu came to rescue. Doorjee Sonnu was the incarnation of Lord Buddha. Doorjee Sonnu’s victory over the evil was celebrated by Upper Mustang people as Teechi. On this day Choedhe Monastery organizes festival dances.
RED MACHHENDRANATH JATRA (June)
In the ancient time Kathmandu Valley went through severe famine threatening the lives of ordinary people. God Red Machhendranath was requested to bring in rains. When rainfalls cascaded down the valley with the blessings of the god, the local people as homage to the god started celebrating Red Machhendranath Jatra during the month of June. Chariot seated with Red Machhendranath is roamed all around the valley. People come before the chariot to worship his almighty with puja items.
NAG PANCHAMI (August)
10th August is a religious day when Nepalese worship snake gods, also called the Nagas. Like other festivals, Nag Panchami is also backed up by a tale. In the ancient time Nagas halted rain from pouring over Nepal. The king of that time also happened to be a Tantric and so he used his power to make Nagas let go of rain. The king succeeded in doing so but he also honored the majestic power of Nagas by turning the day of victory into a festive occasion of Nag Panchami. On Nag Panchami, devotees put a picture of Nag high above their doorway and perform puja with necessary puja items. Offerings in the form of food are left in the yards and paddies for snakes.
GAURA PARBA (August)
Gaura Parba is celebrated by far-western Nepali on 13th August. This day is very significant for married women. They worship Shiva and Parvati for the longevity, happiness and prosperity of their husbands and family. Women on this day come together under one roof and share their happiness and sorrow. They enjoy this day singing and dancing.
JANAI PURNIMA AND RAKSHYA BANDHAN (August)
Nepali enjoys Janai Purnima on 19th August. Men purify their body with early morning bath, change their sacred thread placed across their chest with a new one and perform puja. Brahmins gather around Bagmati River to take a dip into the holy river and offer their prayer to his almighty. At home, a Brahmin places yellow blessed thread around the wrist of family members. Nepali family invites close relatives for a feast containing assortments of kwati, a combination of varieties of beans, as special menu. Rakshya Bandhan is a special day for brothers and sisters. On the same day, sisters put rakhi on their brothers’ wrist, offer those sweets and food and pray for their longevity, happiness and prosperity. Likewise, brothers also present special gifts to their sisters.
INDRA JATRA (September)
On 17th September Kathmandu valley celebrates Indra Jatra to please God Indra for his blessings to mankind. A chariot carrying a statue of God Indra is pulled along the streets of Kathmandu valley by youthful men. People nears the chariot to worship God Indra with puja Items. Another chariot carrying Goddess Kumari, Lord Ganesh and Lord Bhairab is also dragged along the valley. People in Lakhe attire performs Lakhe dance.