FESTIVALS IN NEPAL
Festivals in Nepal begin with religion, ending as social
event. There are more than 50 major festivals in a year celebrated
by Nepalis. Although most of these festivals are religious
some have historical significance, while others are seasonal
The dates of most festivals are fixed by famous astrologers
after consulting the lunar calendar. The biggest and most
popular festivals are: Dashain, a celebration of Goddess Bhagabati's
victory over evil Mahisashur; and Tihar, a celebration of
lights dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.
It is not hard to catch colorful processions in different
streets of the Valley almost every other day of the week.
Cultural acts of dances and songs are integral parts of some
celebrations while some celebrations are just quiet family
gatherings. Grand celebrations like Ghode Jatra and Gai Jatra
entertain participants and spectators every year.
Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha. The anniversary of
the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death is observed on
a full-moon day in May every year. People celebrate the occasion
by paying homage to Buddha. Lumbini and Swayambhunath, Bouddhanath
in Kathmandu are thronged with devotees during Buddha Jayanti.
Gai Jatra is an eight-day carnival of dancing, singing, mirth
and laughter. The festival usually falls in Julay or August.
As part of the festival family members of those who died in
the past year send people dressed as cow to parade on the
Maha Shiva Ratri
Shiva Ratri which literally means the Night of Lord Shiva,
is celebrated by all Hindus in the month of February. Religious
fairs are organized at several places. Thousands of devotees
throng Pashupatinath Temple for a 'darshan' of Lord Shiva
on this day.
Dashain is the most important festival among Nepalis. The
entire population of Nepal celebrates the festival that falls
between mid September to mid October. Nepalis celebrate Dashai
by buying new clothes, eating good food and visiting family
members. Card games are very popular during this time. Various
fairs and celebration events are organized during the Dashain
fortnight in both villages and cities
Tihar is the festival of lights. This five-day celebrations
of Tihar fall in October or November generally a fortnight
after Dashain and are partaken with equal joy by all Nepalis.
Houses are illuminated at night and special sweets of different
varieties are prepared. Tihar, like Dashain, is a series of
family events. Goddess Lakshmi is remembered and offered worship
on Lakshmi Puja Day.
Dumji is one of the sared ceremonies of the Sherpa community.
It is celebrated in the month of July. Dumji is celebrated
by the Sherpas in Namche region. The Sherpas of Kathmandu
and Helambu regions also participate in dancing on this day.
Lhosar which falls on a new-moon day in February is celebrated
by Tibetan-speaking population. Songs and dances are organized
in Kumbu region of Nepal. On this day devotees throng Bouddhanath
in Kathmandu for celebration and worsh