Nepal is often regarded as the land of festivals. They unite the Nepalese people of diverse cultural backgrounds and beliefs into one. Each festival has a historical or cultural significance while some other are celebrated seasonally. When you are traveling Nepal, Be sure that you will get chance to witness at-least one major festivals. Let’s check out some major festivals in Nepal.
Major Festivals in Nepal
Dashain is one of the prominent festivals for all the Nepalese although it is predominately celebrated by Hindus. It is the longest and the most auspicious festivals for Nepalese that lasts for 15 long days. The goddess Durga in all her manifestations is worshipped with innumerable pujas and offerings. Dashain commemorates victory of the god over demons.
Tihar, the festival of light is one of the most dazzling among other Hindu festivals. It starts with the honoring of animals such as crows, dogs, cows and bullocks. On the third day, the Goddess of Wealth visits every home that has been suitably lit for her presence. The festival is also marked by the bursting of firecrackers, the giving of sweets as gifts and the placing of tikas on foreheads.
Lhosar is most impressively observed by Buddhist community in Nepal. This festival commemorates the Tibetan New Year that mostly fall in the month of January and February. Lhosar is a time for families, and many fascinating rituals are performed in Buddhist highland areas, as well as in Tibetan settlements near Kathmandu and Pokhara.
This festival is predominantely celebrated in Terai region that falls just after ‘Tihar’. and observed by married woman. They fast throughout the day and gather by ponds and rivers to greet the sun’s first rays with prayers, offerings and ritual baths.
Teej is also one of the major festivals in Nepal. It is celebrated in August or early September. This festival is a fasting festival for women. They clad in red saris, bejewel in ornaments and dance and sing throughout the day. Through this religious fasting, Hindu woman pray for marital bliss, well being of their spouse and children and also for the purification of body and soul.
Named after the mythical she-demon Holika, this festival is celebrated by feast of colors and splashing waters. It is celebrated to exchange brotherhood and to celebrate with families and friends. People also collect firewood, light bon fires, add ‘bhang’ to their food and drinks It falls in the month of February or March on holi purnima.This festival also marks the arrival of Spring.
Buddha Jayanti marks the birth of Lord Buddha that falls in the full moon of the fourth Lunar month. Lord Buddha was born as Prince Siddartha Gautam in 543BCin the southern terai belt of Nepal.This festival is celebrated all over Nepal especially in Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha as well as Swayambhunath and Boudhanath in Kathmandu. The stupas are decorated with glowing butter lamps amd blazing electric lights to celebrate the Buddha’s birth.
Maha Shivratri celebration is dedicated to Lord Shiva, by the Hindus generally in the month of March. Thousands of pilgrims descend upon Pashupatinath, the holiest Hindu temple in the world – the abode of Shiva, visit to make offering and thanking him for protecting the world from great devastation. Sadhus(holy men) paint their bodies by the ashes and bonfires are burnt throughout the night to seek Shiva’s blessings.