Being home to more than 100 ethnic groups, there is always some festivals being celebrated in Nepal. Though it was Hindu kingdom in the past, there existed religious harmony among all the religious groups. How many festivals of Nepal do you know?
There is always some festivals nearby in Nepal because of the diverse social and religious groups. Every group has their festivals and celebrations, and there is mass participation in every festival. The people of every religion take part in others festival being enthusiastic and happy for each other.
Some of the festivals are celebrated nationally, while some festivals are specific to the particular community. But each festival has its own historical and religious background in the Nepalese society.
Travelling to Nepal during the festival seasons adds additional fun and enjoyment to your overall experience. Nepalese people invites tourists and visitors to participate in their festivals and makes them feel homely. Here we come with the list of top 10 festivals of Nepal celebrated by different ethnic and religious groups.
Here are 10 best festivals of Nepal:
Dashain is the most important and premier festival in Nepal. It is celebrated for 10 days, that has got its historical and religious background. The festival occurs in summer-fall of the year. This festival is celebrated for the victory of Gods over Demons after Goddess Durga killed the demon king Maisasur. Dashain is celebrated in every part of the country.
The important days of the festival are the first, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth day. Goddess Durga is worshipped with great enthusiasm, who represents bravery, cruelty and power over vices and a lot more.
The first day of Dashain is called Ghatasthapana which indicates starting off the festival. The ritual of animal sacrifices is done on the 8th day to offer blood to the Goddess Durga.
On the tenth day, the senior member of the house places Tika and Jamara (red powder blended with rice as well as the maize/paddy plant) on the forehead of juniors together with all the blessings.
It is the peak time when tourists visit Nepal to enjoy the beautiful culture and tradition of the Nepalese people. Nepalese people invite the guests and visitors of their country during Dashain for feasts and tika in Dashain. Dashain is widely celebrated best festivals of Nepal
Tihar is the second major festival of Nepal which is celebrated by Hindu people of the entire country. Tihar occurs just after 21 days of Dashain.
You can observe lights everywhere in the country. It is the festival of lights and you can see lights, candles, lanterns lit up everywhere. Tihar is also known as Deepawali or Diwali in the Terai belt of Nepal.
Tihar is celebrated for 5 days and every single day has its own religious and cultural importance. The first day is Kaag Tihar and people pray crows and feeds them on this very day.
The 2nd day is Kukkur (Dog) Tihar when dogs are prayed and thanked for their loyalty and dedication towards the human being and the third day is one of the most important days known as Gai Tihar and Laxmi puja. Laxmi puja is one of the festivals of Nepal as it is celebrated in every part of the country.
Cows are worshipped during the daytime while Goddess Laxmi also known as the goddess of wealth and prosperous is worshipped during the night. You can observe awesome musical programs on the local streets known as Deusi and Bhailo from this very day.
The fourth day is the Govardhan puja where a mountain like the shape of cow dung is made and worshipped. The final day of Tihar is Bhai Tika where sisters put tika on their brother’s forehead and thanks them for all the love, support, care and protection they are going to provide for the lifetime.
3. Nepali New Year (Baisakh 1st)
The official calendar embraced by the Nepalese is Bikram Sambat (B.S.). Hence, the new year for Nepalese start on Baisakh 1st (April 13th). This day is celebrated as the starting of the new year by inviting friends, and relatives with a lot of delicious meals. Baisakh 1st is celebrated as the most significant festivals in Nepal.
People make their new year resolution plans with fresh energy and excitement. Everyone tends to forget the past and look ahead to the future with positive vibes on this day and open hearts. You can simply call it one of the best festivals of Nepal as it unites entire Nepalese and make them different from rest of the world.
Holi is the festival of colours which is celebrated around the entire country and by every ethnic and religious group. It is also called as Hori or Faguwa. It is one of the most lively festivals of the country and falls during winter fall.
This festival is celebrated for two days in the country; the first day is known as Fagu Purnima and is observed only in the hilly belt of the nation. On the next day, the people of Terai belt celebrates it with delicious foods, colours along with music and dance.
With this festival, the winter season ends, and the beautiful spring starts in the country.
5. Buddha Jayanti
Buddha Jayanti is celebrated as a national festival of Nepal. It was the day when Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini. This day is celebrated with great magnificence, and Buddhists from all around the world see come to Nepal to celebrate this day.
Buddha Jayanti falls during the last of May or early June and is celebrated with a huge enthusiast at monasteries and Buddhist cultural sites. During Buddha Jayanti, the famous stupas like Boudhanath, Swayambhunath and Lumbini are decorated nicely for celebration and attracting more tourists during this festival which looks stunning.
Mahashivaratri is another festival which is celebrated around the whole country. This festival is devoted to Lord Shiva, and it falls in February and March. Thousands Hindu pilgrims come to Kathmandu on this day to worship at Pashupati temple. People visit Shiva temples or move on a pilgrimage into Jyotirlingams on this day.
It’s the main festival in Hinduism and marks a remembrance of overcoming darkness. People worship Lord Shiva by chanting prayers, fasting, and concentrating on integrity and ethics like self-restraint, guilt, noninjury to other people, forgiveness, along with the creation of Lord Shiva statue idol.
Maghesankranti is celebrated on Magh 1st (10th month of Bikram Sambat calendar). It is celebrated in the entire country and is said to be the day when cold weather starts fading away.
People take a bath at the river, ponds and lakes on this day. Maghesankranti is celebrated with lots of delicious food like laddu, kheer, Tarul, Ghee, sweet potatoes and khichadi. This festival is marked as the welcome of the beautiful spring season.
8. Teej – Women only festival
Teej is the female only festival of Nepal and is celebrated by both married and unmarried females. It is celebrated for three days in the month of Bhadra month according to the lunar calendar. Lord Shiva is worshipped on Teej.
The first days starts with eating “Darr” or heavy meal to keep the fasting for the next day. On the 2nd day, married females pray for the long life and prosperity of their husband while unmarried girls pray for a good partner. Goddess Parvati is worshipped on the third day, and also females break their fast on this day.
The government provides holiday only to female on Teej, and one can observe the celebration of Teej in every street.
Chhath is the major festival of Terai community and women of terai community worship to God Sun during this festival. This festival is celebrated for three days. In Hinduism, Sun is believed to be the curator of diseases and ensure the prosperity and longevity of life.
The festival is celebrated with many enthusiasts in the Terai area or southern areas of Nepal such as Jankapur, Biratnagar, Birgunj. The celebration is conducted close to rivers, ponds or lakes and the people offer the prayer by standing in the water for hours. It is one of the most vibrant and best festivals of Nepal which one can observe in Terai community.
10. Gai Jatra
Gai Jatra is celebrated by Tharu and Newar community of Kathmandu Valley and. This festival is celebrated in the Kathmandu valley only and during this festival, people pay respect to their deceased members and prays for them to departure god Yamaraj.
It’s thought that King Pratap Malla pioneered the festival to appease and deliver smiles to her queen after the demise of their Son. Thereafter, Gai Jatra festival is celebrated to overcome the sadness of the death of family members.
These are the top and best festivals of Nepal. We can assure of not being alone if you visit Nepal during any of these festivals. You will be warmly welcomed by Nepalese people and invited to part of their festivals.