Top 10 Major Festivals in Nepal

The state of scenic beauties and Himalayan is not just bound with the Himalayas and up downhills or the unique topography. Being a country of immense ethnicity and traditional value, Nepal celebrates the utmost rejoicing festivals. Every year people work hard to enjoy the time of the festive to the fullest. The diverse country of rites and rituals, a secular state, Nepal respects and supports each salient festival. Moreover, people here in Nepal are more likely to have variations of festivals making it well known as the land of festival.
Here, the people are warm and kindhearted. There is a respective identity for every religious norm in the country. Hindu or Muslim, Christian or Buddhist, Nepal is the country that represents itself in every major festival of the people. The people of Nepal celebrate festivals with ancient literature or mythology. However, most of the people of Nepal follow Hinduism, so Hindu festivals are more rejoicing and grander in Nepal. People in Nepal participate in all the religious festivals, but they celebrate only their religious festivals. Let us talk about the topmost rejoicing and grand festive that anyone can visit at the time in Nepal.

Dashain: The Biggest and Longest Festival of Nepal

Dashain Festival in Nepal

Dashain, also known as Vijaya Dashami or Bada Dasai, is the most remarkable and majestic festival in Nepal. The majority of Hindus celebrate this festival of Goddess Durga in Nepal. Due to the diverse rites in the country, people of every religion get a holiday at the time of Dashain. It is festive of family and relatives who gather for each other’s prosperity and success for the upcoming life.

The story of the Dashain festival is within the Goddess Durga that kills the hellhound called Mahisasur. Nepalese celebrate this ceremony to rejoice in the victory of Goddess Durga. Furthermore, there is also a belief of the people that lord Durga granted her power to Ram to win over Ravana. People typically celebrate this festival with substantial norms and values.

According to the Lunar Calendar, Dasai falls in September or October with 15 days of the celebration ceremony. All the public and private firms are closed at the time of Dashain. Moreover, there is the ritual of wearing new clothes and consuming a massive amount of meat. People get back to their homeland for an extended vacation and enjoy their time by play cards and swing in the villages.

Alongside there are various ceremonies practiced by the government of Nepal around Durbar square and Tundhikhel till Navaratri. The crucial days of Dashain are Ghatasthapana, Fulpati, Navaratri, Vijaya Dashami, and Kojagrat Purnima.

Tihar: The Festival of Lights

Tihar: Major Festival of Nepal

The glorious festival of lights is known as Tihar. Impatiently, this festival plunge right after the Dashain festival in Nepal. Even after there is a prime festival called Diwali in India, which is like Nepalese Tihar. There are cultural rites in the Tihar festive of Nepal. Generally, the people of Nepal celebrate Tihar by worship the Goddess of wealth, Laxmi. There is religious importance to worship Laxmi. However, there is the belief of celebrating the festival leads to the family’s good wealth by destroying the mischance of the house.

The houses and streets are vibrant with lights and artistic Rangoli to welcome Goddess Laxmi in their area. It is one of the rejoicing and magnificent festivals of Nepal. The Tihar festival is celebrated for five days. In the first two days, they worship Dogs and crows. The third day is the day of venerating the cow. In the evening, there is the lighting of candles and lights in the houses to worship Goddess Laxmi. On the fourth day, they worship oxen whereas, the last day is known as Bhai tika.

The festival of rejoicing brings smiles and happiness to the life of the people of Nepal. The third day of worshipping Laxmi is the prime day of this festival. After worship goddess Laxmi, people go to the houses of people to seek blessings and give good wishes to the people. In Nepali, it stands as playing Deusi-Bhailo. There is also imposing fire cracking and enjoying a full night in the lighted area. Another important day is Bhai Tika. On this day, there is a ritual between brothers and sisters. They worship each other for their prosperity and long-living. In the Newar community of Nepal, there is Mha puja on this day.

Chhath

Women performing Chhath Puja worshipping the setting sun

Chhath is also well known as Chhath Puja, which is the significant carnival of the Mithila native people of Nepal. It is one of the immensely well-known fairs and is followed by the mortals of the Terai Region. Based on Lunar Calendar, this carnival falls in the months of the festival around October or November. Chhath Puja is the utmost carnival where the mortals of Mithila emphasize by commemorating for four days. The foremost motive of this festive is to worship Sun for granting light and prosperity in the lives. They worship sunrise and sunset as a Lord of our everyday life by fasting for four days.

They visit the bank of the river and settle their shelter along with worshipping materials. The popular dishes they prepare while worshipping the Sun are Anarasa and Thekuwa. After attempting a few commemorations for the first two days, on the third day, they walk ahead towards the riverside. On that evening, they worship the sunset by dipping in the water along with the unique presentation of worship materials to God. They spend their night in the bank. On the next early morning, they similarly worship sunrise. Finally, after returning to their quarters, they break their fasting and take impulsive meals.

However, Chhath Puja is the last carnival of the month of festivals. After ending Chhath Puja, people must go back to their wonted life and wait for the next year for grand celebrations.

Fagun Purnima: Festival of Colors

Holi Festival | Major Festival of Nepal

The carnival of colors is also known as Holi. It is the foremost festival for the people of the Terai region. The people of India also celebrate this carnival of Holi by spraying color and water on one another. This festival falls in February or March. People in the Hilly region of Nepal also commemorate this festival. They celebrate it on the full moon day whereas, the people of the Terai region and Indians celebrate it after a day of the full moon. There is mythology over commemorating this festival.

Humankind believes that there was a worshipper of Lord Vishnu, known as Prahalad. His father and aunt were a demon. His father commanded to kill his son by cremating him on fire. By following the paths of his father, Prahalad’s aunt held him on her lap to lean themselves on the fire. She believed that her powers would save her anyhow and Prahalad will finally get killed. Instead, his aunt’s potency didn’t come into existence that burnt her over, whereas Prahalad walked outside of the blazing flame and local villagers sprayed water on him to save him. As a devotee and rejoice of good over evil, mortals celebrate Holi as an honor.

The humankind of Nepal commemorates this fair in a massive crowd. They spray colors and water in balloons and Pichkari. They also pour colors on one another to celebrate this carnival. Most of the adults drink a lot of beverages and enjoy to the fullest. Recently, there are many unwanted incidents during the time of Holi due to which the government also provides police protection in the most crowded areas.

Teej: The Festival of Women

Women dancing on the occasion of Teej, one of the major festival of Nepal

The only women’s festival in Nepal is Teej. During the month of Bhadra, the women of Nepal are immensely excited for this festive. During the three days of women, they regard Teej to be the most optimistic rejoice and knot the tie of married women with their husbands. For unmarried girls, the belief acknowledges Teej is the chance to find a well-behaved husband in the future. Married women celebrate Teej for the long-living life of their husbands. They also participate in the fasting process to have a healthy married life. Similarly, unmarried girls also fast during Teej so that they get admiring husbands for life long.

Moving forward, on the first day of the Teej, there is the practice of eating heavy and tasty meals to get prepared for the fasting. On the second day, married women get in red Sari, with heavy ornaments of marriage offers. They fast the whole day without drinking a sip of water. Some of them also take light fasting by eating only fruits and dairy products. They dance and worship Lord Shiva to get a husband just like him. In the evening, married women break their fasting by venerating their husbands. On the third day, they worship Goddess Parvati and by eating Chokho food made in Ghee.

Teej is the festival of women with the significance of separate rejoicing within women. Most of the married women also fast during the whole month of Sharwan before Teej by eating fruits and Vegetarian foods.

Maha Shiva Ratri

Pashupathinath during maha shivaratri

A rejoice prime festival of Lord Shiva is Maha Shiva Ratri. There is a massive way of commemoration in the Lord Shiva’s temple of Nepal. However, the utmost well-known temple is Pashupatinath. According to the mythology of Hindu, they rejoice this day as the birthday of the Hindu exceptional Lord Shiva. During Maha Shiva Ratri, there is a cosmic fair in the ground of Pashupatinath. Pilgrimages across Nepal and within Nepal. People come to visit Pashupati Nath during this festival.

However, people worship the Shiva Linga of Pashupatinath and other Shiva Temples with fruits, peepal leaves, and sacred water. Later, they get in immense involved in artistic and breathtaking aartis in the temple conducted by holy priests of the Hindu religion. They also spend their day watching devotees of Lord Shiva known as Shadhu, circus, and buying puja materials in the circuses.

Hindu beliefs regard Lord Shiva as the superior of all the gods and goddesses. There is the utmost reason for Hindu people to rejoice in the birth of the prominent Lord. People also consume a hulking amount of alcohol on this day by the belief of mimicking Lord Shiva. In the evening, people are seen flaming the wood in a crowd and distributing prasad of Lord Shiva to the visitors. Hence, to enjoy this fiesta, you must visit Nepal during February or March in a year.

Janai Purnima

Janai Purnima

Janai Purnima is the utmost festival of siblings in the month of Shrawan. In Nepal, it has the name of Rakhasya Bandhan or Rakhi alike in India. An astrologer predicts this holy day according to the Lunar Calendar. On this sacred day, the men members of the Hindu community change the sacred thread known as Janai that they wear around inside their clothes. There is a special commemoration on this day celebrated between a brother and a sister. Then a sister ties a holy thread known as Rakhsya Bandhan around their brother’s wrist. This thread is a symbol of protection and well-wishing to a brother from a sister. Moreover, there is a special dessert and worshipping to the brothers. As a blessing to their sisters, a brother presents gifts or money in return. This propitious moment ties unbreakable relation between a sister and a brother that mean they are always with each other to protect and bless them to choose a correct path.

Buddha Jayanti

People worshipping Lord Budhha during Buddha Jayanti

On this propitious day, Buddha Jayanti reflects the commemoration of the birthday of Buddha in 543 B.C. The pilgrimage and the fellow monks of Buddha travel to Nepal. On this day, they visit the places of Gautam Buddha as Lumbini, Bauddha Nath, and Monkey Temple Swayambhunath. The monks among the Buddhist community enchanter the mantras of Buddha and praise Lord Buddha in the stupa. However, they must not eat non-vegetarian food and avoid alcohol on this flattering day. The fellow Buddhist covers stupa with colorful flags and butter lamps to decorate the area for celebrations.

Loshar

people celebrating Loshar

Cultural people of Buddhist Nepali people have adapted to the traditional festival of Tibetan culture called Loshar. However, Buddhists of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and India celebrate it as a Tibetian New Year. In Nepal, there are three different types of Loshar. Each community of Buddhists in Nepal celebrates it on an incompatible date. Gurung celebrates Tamu Loshar that remarks this date as the beginning of a new year in the Gurung community. It falls in December or January. On this occasional day, just like other religions, they consume unusual dishes, sing, dance, and be part of various rallies of the Gurung community.

Similarly, the Tamang community of Nepal celebrates Sonam Loshar. In the month of Magh, on the day of the full moon, they celebrate their new year. The people of the Tamang community have unrelated cultural aspects while commemorating this festival. Their way of celebration is much like Tibetian Loshar. Moreover, with the tradition of symbolling 12 different animals, the Tamang community has been following it in the same way as a thousand years ago. They wear traditional dress along with a righteous hat by boys and girls. Furthermore, these people celebrate Loshar by consuming delicious feasts and by singing and dancing with their community people.

Gyalo Loshar is the utmost festival for the people of the Sherpa community. Therefore, the Tibetan people influence this festival to Sherpas. All the rites are related to gods and hellhounds; this festival lasts for utter two weeks. The Tibetan traditional beer called Chhang is the well-known cuisine of this festival.

Gai Jatra

Gai Jatra

Gai Jatra is the utmost prime festival for the people who have lost their relatives in a year. Moreover, it has an ancient significance to celebrate this festival in August. Maybe it is only the unique festival in the world that commemorates the carnation of deal with people with such rejoice. Similarly, in Kathmandu Valley, the Newari people repeatedly celebrate this festival more than other communities. On this day, they decorate the cows with Tika and a magnificent wreath. Young boys also dress like cows and roam around temples and streets. There is also a heavy practice of exchanging fruits and sweets among families. Hence, it is the festival over the dead member of the family or relatives, so that they can please Yama to let their lost ones enter inside heaven. The main highlights during this festival are the Mask dance and the small kids dressing like a cow.

Therefore, these are various utmost well-admired festivals in Nepal. Every religion of Nepal has its traditional carnival to commemorate. You can visit Nepal to observe any of these festivals based on their respective months. Each religion celebrates these festivals in their way. Hence, being a small country, it has everlasting cultural importance due to the colossal diversity in the ethnicity of Nepal.

Dashain festival in Nepal

According to the Nepalese Lunar calendar, Dashain is the ruling festival of Nepalese people that falls during the months between late September or October. Dashain is the utmost festive for the Hindu and celebrates it for 15 days. Hindu of Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and North-east India celebrate Dashain/Dasai as the triumph of the goddess Durga after defending the monster Mahisasur. Hindu people celebrate this festival for the conquest of good over evil. Dashain festival in Nepal is the biggest festival so people there celebrate it with full joy and dedication.

For the nine days, people who follow Hinduism worship Goddess Durga whereas, the first day of Dashain is known as Ghatasthapana. Dashami is on the tenth day since the day all the official and public works are closed along with academic fields. This year, the festival of Dashain in Nepal begins from 17 October to 30 October in 2020 according to the English calendar.

Everyone visits their home and relatives to receive blessings from their elders. The migrants and Nepalese youth living across the countries come back to their motherland and spend their time with their family and relatives. On this occasion of delirium, it’s time to eat varieties of delicious foods, receive new clothes, clean houses, play ping, and spend quality time with family. However, there is detached importance of Dashain among Hindu and Buddhist Newar of Nepali people.

The people of Nepal wait for a whole year for Dashain. Likewise, other festive every Hindu follows the rites and ritual during this festival in the context of Nepal. This biggest festival brings a new journey in the life of people. The red tika on the forehead symbolizes the blessings for upcoming days in the year. Hence, people of North-east India like Sikkim, Darjeeling, etc. celebrate this festival as Dussehra.

Why does Nepali celebrate Dashain?

The longest festival in the Nepalese Lunar Calendar is Dashain. Even foreigners are keen to know about the Dashain festival and admire to observe them close enough. The coup of goddess Durga over devil Mahisasur with the victory of Ram in the form of lord Vishnu over Ravana with the blessing of Goddess Durga is the main reason to celebrate the Dashain festival. According to the Myth of Hindu, the festival to conquer the good and destroy the evil shows the correct way to live life and never choose the wrong steps.

The first nine days of Dashain is the period during which the goddess Durga was defending herself and the word against the terrifying evil Mahishasura. Likewise, on the ninth day, known as Nawa Rati, she successfully fought against him. Thus, from the 10th day to the 15th day, the good over evil people celebrate with great enthusiasm and courage. Anyhow, it gives them positive aura and encourages themselves to fight against demons.

Furthermore, they seek good and positive blessings for their elders to defend any negativity in their life. They also keep the immense belief that the higher the age is tough is their more blessings.

The Hindu put tika and Jamara on their forehead as it resembles as the sign of blessings. Similarly, new clothes as the start of a new beginning by letting go of the past.

Importance of Dashain Festival

Dashain plays a crucial role in the life of Hindu. It gives courage to the success of defending superior over inferior and the extensive 15 days holiday for the Hindu people in a year. Likewise, the story of Dashain speaks about the goddess Durga had brutally killed horrifying evil.

Dashain is foremost to fight against deficient or harmful people with blessings and new energy in life. It is also the most iconic festival for the Hindu of Nepal and a great time for celebrating without having to do any official work.

Till the date, the rites and rituals are followed in the same way before. However, there are holidays even for public workers along with festival bonus. The inhabitants of their motherland also get to return from abroad.

Time of Dashain is also paramount for children as they get off from their studies. They are always excited to get new clothes from their family at this period. Along with that, they also get to eat uncommon kinds of foods cooked during Dashain. Dashain is foremost for every Hindu people to start new ways of living life by keeping the negativity aside from their lives. Other than that, Dashain is for life-long welfare and prosperity of individual and upcoming life. People do not celebrate Dashain festivals if any blood-related person has demise from the family within a year.

Main Days of Dashain

Dashain Festival in Nepal

People celebrate Dashain Festival in Nepal very deliberately. The 15 days of the festival represents each supreme day. However, to commemorate the gallantry of goodness, this festival prongs how the goddess of virtue struggled against hellhound. After the ninth day, Hindu citizens claim the honoring of the victory of the goddess. Hence, let us talk about the rites and rituals followed during this period briefly.

Ghatasthapana

The first day of Dashain is known as Ghatasthapana. From the day of Ghatasthapana, most of the private offices give a holiday to their workers. Along with it, most of the private schools and college also provides a holiday to the children.

On the day of performing worship, there is the ritual of pot establishing in the holy places or temples. There is the rite of introducing Kalash is also known as a pot to worship. Worshipper fills the pot with clean water from rivers or ponds. There is the placement of Kalash in the center of a seed dibbled in the rectangular sandy area.

The tradition resembles Kalash as Goddess Durga that passes the glory and prosperity in the family. Inside Dashain Grah, the head of the family or only the male members used to perform this sacrament in the presence of a priest where Ghatasthapana establishes.

But as time flew, nowadays it’s normal for women to perform ceremonial as well. Astrologers determine the propitious time of establishing Ghatasthapathan. However, the cardinal of this rite is not to flash out the sown seeding in front of the sunlight every day till nine-day known as Navami.

Furthermore, there is also a belief that people or the family who do not attend this rite are more unlikely to receive any blessings from the goddess of Universe Durga.

Fulpati

As the day comes near, there is another rite of the Dashain festival known as Fulpati. Fultipati falls on the seventh day after Ghatasthapana. The word “Ful” means flowers, “Pati” is a word for leaves in the Nepali language. Since this day, the official holiday start where people start to move out from their destinations to their hometown. The observance of Fulpati lasts for three days from the seventh day of Dashain. It is known as the traditional celebration to offer flowers, fruits, and leaves to the goddess of power Durga.

Previously during the time of monarchy on the day of Fulpati, Priest keeps the Kalash of sacred water with banana leaves, sowed grains, Belpatra, and sugarcane hitched with red cloth inside Dashain Ghar of Hanumandhoka. Priest or Brahmas brings it from Gorkha by decorating it in a wagon. The people of government offices were part of this parade. On the importance of Fulpati, the army of Nepal fires the gun during the arrival of Fulpati from Gorkha.

After the end of the monarchy, Fulpati is placed directly inside the residence of the president. From this day, the cosmic celebration of Dashain starts by feasting in the Hindu community.

Maha Astami

The black night of the Dashain festival is called Maha Ashtami. The biggest night falls on the eighth day of the Dashain festival. On this day, worshipper offers the greatest slaughter of animals to Goddess Durga. In the courtyard of Kathmandu Durbar Square, Hindu scarifies 54 buffalos and 54 goats. They distribute slaughtered meats among the people as Prasad. The members of the family eat prasad as the blessing of the goddess Durga and Kali.

During that night, there is the tradition of slaughtering goats, buffalos, and sheep in the houses as the offering to the bloodthirsty goddess Kali. The night is called Kal Rati, which means black night. After slaughtering the animals as offering to goddess Durga and Kali, people start to feast the festival by consuming heavy meals and meats.

During the rite, all the family members sit together and rejoice the festival of superior over inferior. On this day, there is another commemoration within the community of Newar people called Khadga Puja. They worship their weapons on this day.

Maha Navami

The great but the last day of Navarati is claimed as Maha Navami. On the day, the Nepalese Army slaughters buffalos as the sacrifices to credit the goddess Durga in the courtyard. After the protocol, the red drops of blood cover the field. Defense Army fires a gun and plays war tunes in the full uniformed. There is the belief of the people that the unmarried girls are another appearance of the goddess Durga. They worship the young girls in the temples and houses.

On this day, there is also lore of worshipping of god Vishwa karma. People worship their vehicles, contraptions, factory machinery, etc. and the things that make their living possible. To avoid traffic accidents in the upcoming days, they worship vehicles. The day is vibrant as people worship the vehicles and equipment with red tika and ribbons.

According to the mythology of people, the god Vishwa Karma protects us from accidents in the future. Some people also offer and scarifies moving equipment to the goddess Durga. It is the last day to worship goddess Durga with rites and rituals. The door of taleju temple at Kathmandu valley opens only currently in a year.

Tika, also known as Bijaya Dashami

On the tenth day, there is Dashain tika claimed as Bijaya Dashami. To observe the goddess Durga’s victory over Mahisasur, they celebrate this day. Every year, astrologers determine the optimistic Dashain tika time. On this day, they mix the vivid red scarlet, rice, and curd to form Dashain tika. There is auspicious Dasai tike time that is different every year. Everybody covets each other “Happy Bijaya Dashami” on this day.

The holy Jamara strewed in Dashain Ghar is taken out and received as the blessing of the goddess Durga. During the Bada Dashain, people wear new clothes and visit their family and relatives. Hindu believes in acquiring Tika and Jamara is the structure of blessings. Red Tika is the symbol of power from Durga. The elders provide Diksina to their younger ones as a blessing. There is the process of receiving a tika for five days among their relatives and families.

Along with the red tika on the forehead, everyone ingests delicious meals along with meat and desserts. Children and adults play Dashain ping and enjoy the fullest.

Kojagrat Purnima

Kojagrat Purnima or simply Purnima is the last day of the Dashain celebration. It lies on the full moon day of the festival time. Usually, this night, it is the time to stay awake to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity goddess Laxmi.

In the end, people spend their night by playing cards to stay awake the whole night. There is also a belief of consuming meats as the offering to the goddess. This way, 15 days of Dashain comes to an end.

How Nepali Celebrate Dasai?

A man flying kite in an open blue sky in Dashain

Dasai is the utmost festival for Hindu people, especially in Nepal. There is the importance of Dashain in every Hindu community. According to the belief of Hindu society, there is a story of Dashain behind the rationale of venerating Goddess Durga. The goddess of power and positivity slaughtered the hellhound Mahisasur. Also, she blessed with potential and prosperity to Ram to kill Ravana.

While celebrating 15 days of Dashain, there is a substantial commemoration in every house from the first of day Ghatasthapana. Until the nine days, there is systematic venerate of Goddess Durga to encourage her to kill the demon. Children have divergent Dashain wishes. Wearing new clothes and eating Dashain’s special food is the most joyful part of Dashain. People celebrate Bada Dasai with their family and relatives by playing cards and eating meals. The cultural importance of the Dashain motivates people to always fight against unpleasant people.

There is a setup of Dashain swing or dasai ping in the village areas. Children love to spend their time playing in the bamboo wring. Everyone wishes each other happy Vijaya Dashami as a greeting and the way of welcoming Dashain.

However, it is an appreciable time for migrants of Nepali citizens to visit back their homes. Every family wishes their children and relatives to get back home during Dashain to celebrate this ceremony together.

Dashain Festival: The best time to visit Nepal

Every year a lot of foreigner visits Nepal during September and October to observe about Dashain. It is the best time to visit Nepal and offer yourself with dasai ko tika. Due to pandemic, it is strenuous for people to celebrate Dashain 2020 in Nepal. The economic condition is not well in Nepal this year, so there might not be a large gathering during the commemoration. In 2020, Dashain falls in the month of late October. Fulpati is on 23rd October while the Vijaya Dashami falls on 26th October.