Festivals In Nepal 2016

01 Oct

Sat

Ghatasthapana 

08 Oct

Sat

Dashain Festival (Phoolpati / Phulpat) 

09 Oct

Sun

Dashain Festival (Maha Astami) 

10 Oct

Mon

Dashain Festival (Maha Nawami) 

11 Oct

Tue

Dashain Festival (Vijaya Dashami) 

12 Oct

Wed

Dashain Festival (Pampakusha EkadashI) 

13 Oct

Thu

Dashain Festival (Dwadashi) 

15 Oct

Sat

Kojagrat Purnima 

30 Oct

Sun

Tihar Festival (Gai Tihar / Lakshmi Puja) 

31 Oct

Mon

Tihar Festival (Goru Tihar / Gobardhan Puja) 

01 Nov

Tue

Tihar Festival (Bhai Tika) 

06 Nov

Sun

Chhat Parwa 

13 Dec

Tue

Urdyauli Parwa / Mangshir Dhanya Purnima 

25 Dec

Sun

Christmas Day (Christians only) 

30 Dec

Fri

Lhosar 


Public Holidays 2017

14 Jan

Sat

Maghi Parwa / Maghe Sankranti 

29 Jan

Sun

Martyr's Memorial Day 

29 Jan

Sun

Sonam Losar (Tamang New Year) 

18 Feb

Sat

Democracy Day (Rastraya Prajatantra Dibas) 

24 Feb

Fri

Mahashivaratri 

26 Feb

Sun

Ghyalpo Losar 

08 Mar

Wed

International Women's Day 

04 Apr

Tue

Ram Nawami 

13 Apr

Thu

Nepali New Year 

01 May

Mon

International Workers Day 

10 May

Wed

Buddha Jayanti (Bhudda Day) 

28 May

Sun

Ganatantra Diwas / Republic Day 

26 Jun

Mon

Ramjan Edul Fikra 

07 Aug

Mon

Janai Purnima / Rakshya Bandhan 

14 Aug

Mon

Shree Krishna Janmasthami / Gaura Parba 

02 Sep

Sat

Edul Aajaha 

20 Sep

Wed

Constitution Day 

21 Sep

Thu

Ghatasthapana 

27 Sep

Wed

Dashain Festival (Phoolpati / Phulpat) 

28 Sep

Thu

Dashain Festival (Maha Astami) 

29 Sep

Fri

Dashain Festival (Maha Nawami) 

30 Sep

Sat

Dashain Festival (Vijaya Dashami) 

01 Oct

Sun

Dashain Festival (Pampakusha EkadashI) 

02 Oct

Mon

Dashain Festival (Dwadashi) 

05 Oct

Thu

Kojagrat Purnima 

19 Oct

Thu

Tihar Festival (Gai Tihar / Lakshmi Puja) 

20 Oct

Fri

Tihar Festival (Goru Tihar / Gobardhan Puja) 

21 Oct

Sat

Tihar Festival (Bhai Tika) 

25 Oct

Wed

Chhat Parwa 

25 Dec

Mon

Christmas Day (Christians only) 

30 Dec

Sat

Lhosar 

 

Maghe Sankranti(Mid-January): Maghe Sankranti means the first day of the holy month of magh (mid of January).This ceremonial day marks the moving of the winter sun towards the northern hemisphere  indicating better warm days are on the way. The most important rituals to be performed by devotees on this day is to take an early morning bath in a holy river and then go to the temples to make special prayers. Thousands on this day flock to the important river points like Shankhamole in Arayaghat ,in Kathmandu valley and Devghat . Dolaghat, Baraha chhetra, Ridi and Damouli beyond.

National Day (November): National day in Nepal is celebrated to commemorate a historic day  when democracy was brought by the people ‘s revolution in 1951 putting an end to the autocratic family rule of the Ranas lasting 104 years.

Various programmes and parades are organised to mark this great occasion .Due respect is paid to the national heroes –who sacrificed their lives to bring democracy in the country. The colourful illumination in the evening is another part of celebration on this day.

 

Ramadan(January):Ramadan signifies the holy month of Muslims ,Koran, the holy Muslim text as many believe was revealed to Mohammed during this very holy month. So in order to mark this great event Muslims take a month long fasting. During this period smoking ,eating and drinking even water is strictly before the night fall. In the morning on this day Muslims in thousands attired in  their finest clothes go to their mosques to attend the mass(prayer).They come back home only late afternoon for their first meal in day light. They spend lot of money on new clothes and feast to celebrate this occasion.

 

 

Shiva Ratri (February): Shiva Ratei,  literally means the holy night of Shiva ,the presiding deity of Hindu pantheon. The focal point of Shiva Ratri celebration is the famed Pashupatinath temple situated on the bank of the river Bagmati  about  6 k.m. east of down town  Kathmandu .

 

This holy temple attracts tens of thousands of pilgrims from Nepal as well as India ,during this festival .Countless pilgrims including long haired mendicants and ash covered ascetics some of them quite naked pour visit the temple of Pashupatinath to pay their respects.

 

 

Losar(February):This festival is celebrated every year as Tibetan New Year’s Day which falls on Parewa of Phalgoon (February). Sherpa’s perform their rhythmic dances followed by songs  and dances in groups as Sheru and in 2 to 4 known as Nangding Solu. All Sherpa land is full of festive mood in this festival enjoying the feast for weeks. Famous chhang, fermented home-brewed beer is offered during feasts in this festival.

 

Another picturesque and colourful festival of Pompo Yartung is observed in late summer up in the Himalayas across Annapurna. Many villages join together for an exciting  day of horse racing and dancing.

 

There is another festival Toronal is observed by all Thakalis of the thak (khola Valley or the upper Kali Gandaki Valley north of Pokhara on March at the time as of holi. The highlight of the celebration is Taihsa Kyanla archery contest and the village people with great reforcing.

 

 

Sri Panchami or Basant Panchami(February) :This festival is observed in honour of the coming of the spring season by worshipping Saraswati. The temples of Saraswati at Lala, Swayambhu Saraswati or Manju Shri  is decorated with pomp and show. Large number of people visit the temple of Saraswati and take blessings.

 

At Hanuman Dhoka His Majesty the King listens Basanta Rag (Spring  song )in the midst of colourful ceremony attended by higher government officers and dignities escorted by mounted cavalier and a military band. Children are taught the first alphabet for the first time on this occasion.

 

 

Dumji  and Mani Rimdu :These two  festivals are  celebrated almost in all Sherpa Villages on the full moon day of the Asadh. On these festivals tantric dances ,initiations and Nen –seg-phang-sum i.e trampling ,burning and throwing (the practice which involves dispelling of evil spirits)are performed. These two festivals have strong religious significance. They involve huge expense and need to be sponsored by a family  or  a group involving 3-4 families. The person or the families organizing this festival have to provide meals to the entire audience and thus it can be expensive.

In the upper Khumbu region a group of eight families sponsor the festival together ,whereas in Shorong (lower Khumbu or Solu) area ,2-4 families make contributions to sponsor the festivals. The responsibility of making arrangements for Dumchi festival is generally  decided by a drawing of a lot and the festival lasts for 4-5 days. In some places, people make voluntary contributions.

 

Not every Sherpa community can afford to organize this  festival .Today only 25 monasteries celebrate either of the two festivals. They are held  in Pangpoche monastery, Jung monastery, Khumjung monastery, Thame monastery, Nabuche monastery, Lukla monastery and Rimejung monastery etc. They are celebrated at the same time in every  monastery. In Kyarog monastery ,a similar festival called “Tsochen” is celebrated .History reveals that Dumchi was once celebrated at Tagshintok, Dongda, Namdingma, Sete and Shartungnga monasteries. With the  passage of time it was discontinued. The  celebration of Dumchi festival began in Kyilkhor-Dingma in 1971 and in Samten-Choeling monastery in 1988.At recently. However ,beginning from 1992 ,the tantric dance of Guru Tsengyed (the eight different  aspects of Guru  Padma Sambhava) is performed annually. In India ,Dumchi is celebrated at Znngdok Palri  Monastery in Kalimpong in the district of Darjeeling .This festival originated in the 16th century. It involves dispelling all obstacles and misfortunes in the life of all sentient beings ,human beings in particular. Its primary objectives is to  subdue all the evil spirits that harm sentient beings  and that impede the spread of dharma.

 

Mani-Rimdu is similar to Dumchi in that  involves ritual activities and tantric dances. However, in Mani-Rimdu, Avalokiteshora appears in neither a wrathful nor peaceful aspect and so  the offerings of sacramental cake (torma) is not required. The devotees recite the six syllable mantra of Chenrezig (the Buddha of Compassion)Om, Ma, Ni, Pad, Me Hung, for several days, placing mani pills in front of the shrine. Thus the name Mani-Rimdu (“Rim”means pills, whereas dum means to accomplish). Mani –Rimdu first spread among Sherpa communities at the beginning of 20th century.

 

Today some of the Sherpa monasteries which celebrate Mani-Rimdu are the Thame monastery, Tangboche  monastery, Chiwang monastery and Kyilkhor –Dingma monasteries. Generally both Dumchi and Mani –Rimdu are not a demonstration of Dharmas, but is a practice of the highest Tantric yoga which involves direct dealing with Lama(spiritual guru), yidam (personal meditation deity), Khadro (Dakini or female celestial bodies who protect those practicing Dharma)and Chokyong Sungma (the Dharma Protectors). Through this Tantric yoga practice one can accomplish the dual Accumulations(accumulation of merit and accumulation of insights). With the achievements of  these two accumulations one attains Buddha-hood and eliminates the two obstructions (the delusive obstruction to liberation and the obstruction to omniscience).

 

Holi: The colourful festival (March-April)is celebrated by putting a three –tier umbrella tied on  a bamboo pole

decorated with numerous colourful flags is erected in front of Gaddhi Baithak (Throne  Room)at  Basantapur, ancient Hanuman Dhoka. A great  fun and frolic  of sprinkling coloured waters and powders to each other. This festival ends after eight day when the bamboo pole erected on the first day is pulled down and burnt.

Gaijatra (July August) or a cow festival those whose family member have died during the year ,send out persons disguised as cows. It is  a carnival type of festival lasting eight days .Highlight of this festival is dancing, singing, making satire, parody, joke etc. It is a carnival type of festival. A throng of people roam along the street of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhadgaon, Pokhara, Tansen and Palpa,  Dankuta with persons decorated as cows. Making hilarious comments, mocking  etc. are the order of the festival.

 

Ramnawami (March): Ramnawami a big day for the Nepalese Hindu is celebrated in honour of the great Hindu King Rama on the 9th day of bright fortnight of Chaitra (March).But the main deity to be worshipped on this occasion is the all-powerful mother goddess Durga, the wife of Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the Hindu pantheon because as  and the holy Hindu scriptures say Rama was a great devotee of Durga her blessings enabled Rama to kill  his arch enemy, Ravana, the most dreadful demon king on this day. This day is symbolically commemorated as the victory of virtue over vice.

 

Machhendra Nath Chariot festivals: The chariot festival white  Machhendranath occurs in March-April in Kathmandu. A ceremony of holy ablation is conducted with traditional rites in the courtyard of the temple in Kel tole in the centre of the busy market. A big chariot with a four wheel made of wood is prepared  and decorated with  tall spine of green leaves. The idol of Lord Machhendra Nath is put in the middle of decorated  chariot which is dragged through the olden part of the city. Large number of devotees  gather to pay homage to the god on this occasion.

 

Similarly, the chariot festival of Red Machhendra Nath takes place in Patan during the month of Baishakh. This festival lasts for a month and the image is taken back to Bungamati on an auspicious day after about a month.

 

The popular name of the deity as Bungadyo and small .the wheeled chariot is prepared at Pulchowk  and dragged through the town of Patan in several spots till it reaches at Jawalakhel. The Machhendra Nath (Red) of Patan and Machhendre Nath (White) of Kathmandu form part of the same cult of Abalokiteswar in the  Mahayana Buddhist religion the month-long ride through the streets of Patan in his big chariot of Red Machhendra Nath ends on the festive day of Bhoto Jatra, the day when his sacred vest is displayed at Jawalakhel in presence of their Majesties the King and Queen amidst large people in festive moods.

 

This festival lasts for eight days .On the first day ,a long wooden pole  is erected before the ancient Royal Palace at Hanuman Dhoka, in order to propitiate the great god Indra ‘The God of Rain “.Rain God Indra is very important for Nepali farmers because they depend on him for a better agricultural returns .They  worship him for sufficient  rains for good crops .So this festival is celebrated with great devotion .Classical dancers assemble wearing different kinds of masks and dance around the courtyard of Hanuman Dhoka in veneration to the visit of god Indra against the shade of  gilded pagodas .On the third day of the festival the living goddess is taken out in procession on a chariot .Three chariots of Kumari, Ganesh and Bhairav are dragged round the city for three days .The king also pays homage to her. During the festival ,interesting dances of Mahakali, Mhalaxmi and Dashah  Avatar (ten kinds of incarnations of Vishnu) are staged on the plinth of Narayan temple just opposite the Kumari temple. This festival marks the end of summer.

 

Ghode Jatra :The festival of horses is held in Kathmandu in between March-April. Colourful sporting events with horse races take place at Tudikhel. Many deities are carried on man-borne chariot (khats) in different parts of the city accompanied by traditional music. A demon called “Gurumampa” is also propriated in Tudikhel .The lovely chariots of Lumadi, Bhadrakali, Knakeshwari and Bhairav are celebrated and carried in their khat at Asam. On this occasion the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley celebrate Pasachare festival with great fun and fasting . The other aspect of the festival is enhanced by the grand function by the Royal Nepal Army at Tudikhel in the afternoon. Horse race and acrobatic shows are presented at this time in which his Majesty is present.

 

Nawa Varsa - New Year (April): Nawa Versa or the Nepalese new year is celebrated  every year with great enthusiasm. This great day according to the  officially recognized  Vikrama Era falls on the first day of the first month the Nepalese year (baisakh)which corresponds to mid-April around .As elsewhere the New Year is observed by exchange of greetings singing and dancing.

 

For the people in Bhaktapur however it is more than this .They celebrate this occasion for one full week. Various Hindu gods and goddess  are worshipped with animal sacrifices. Friends are invited, thus they laze themselves in a very relaxing festive mood.

 

Pishach Chaturdhashi (April): Pishach in Nepal means evil spirits and Chaturdashi means the 14th  day of dark  fortnight of the moonless night .As many believe this is the time when evil spirits become very active and give themselves to the destructive activities .At the dead of this evil spirits (Pitch’s) along with the witches and wandering ghosts roam the country diseases and disasters to the innocent souls.

This is the reason why the Nepalese people firstly prefer to worship the guardian deities of their respective communities and pray for their protection before they go ahead for the celebration of this festival. Newars of Kathmandu valley  celebrate this festival treating themselves with the lavish feast specially prepared for this occasion.

 

 

Buddha Jayanti (April-May): The full moon day of Baisakh  is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Buddha the apostle peace. The unique thing about the life history of Buddha is that he was born on full moon day, got enlightened on full moon day. This great day is known as triple blessed day in the Buddhist world. Lord Buddha ,the light of love and peace for all on the earth was born at Lumbini in Nepal about 260 k.m. southwest of Kathmandu. This holy site attracts thousands of pilgrims on this day.

 

Celebration of this occasion in Kathmandu valley is quite unique. Devotees in Patan carrying the life size statue of Buddha accompanied by various musical bands go round the city .The devotees at Buddha in Kathmandu with the gorgeous golden statue of Buddha mounted on the elephant back make a very impressive street show.

The butter lamps lit up in thousands in and around the beautifully decorated  Swayambhu Nath and Bodh Nath stupas is quite something to see. Apart this many  monasteries near Buddha also display big thangkaas and rare curio treasures on this day to mark this occasion.

 

Matri  Auncy (May): Matri Auncy is a mother’s day in Nepal. The Nepalese on this day treat their mothers with all the best delicacies and gift they can afford and the mothers in return bless with all the best wishes.

But those whose mothers have departed they visit Matatirtha-about 8 k.m. southwest of Kathmandu where they pray for the peace of their departed mothers. A visit to Matatirtha this day is a real worth.

 

Sithi (May):Sithi is a very old festival associated with Kumara ,the fix headed got of extra sensory perception and power. The Nepalese people observe this occasion by offering various ritual food in which the traditional pancakes called “o” feature predominantly. A very old custom requires the Nepalese to clean up their community ponds and wells on this day speaks a lot about the significance environment and water concern of ancient people.

 

Guru Purnima (June-July): Guru Purnima is the teachers day in Nepal .A very old  Hindu tradition worships Lord  Shiva  on this day as the greatest Guru. Devotee Hindus know him by his symbolic name Dakhin Moorti. Many on this day pay a courtesy visit to their respective gurus and exchange greetings to mark this occasion.

 

Ghantakarna (July): This festival is observed every year sometimes is early August  to rate the death of a most dreaded legendary demon called ‘Ghantakarna’

Legend says once this demon terrorized the entire country by devouring children and destroying many family houses-until the local populace with the help of a little frog empowered by Bishnu ,the Hindu god of protection put him to death.

To remind people of this event the children on this day display an effigy of Ghantakarna at various crossroads and collect tolls from passers-by which they spend to put up a big belief funeral show of the demon. In the evening  enthusiastic young boys drag the effigy of the demon down the river and throw it away. They celebrate this occasion with a big feast in the family.

 

Nag Panchami(July-August): Nagpanchami is a snakes’s day in Nepal .The Nepalese people on this day paste the poster of a snake of a snake or naga in a semihuman  form above the main entrance of their houses and worship it with the cow milk sweets and flowers .Snakes are generally regarded as water spirits in Nepal .Performance of this ritual is believed to protect the worshippers from the fear of flood and  other water related  troubles for the whole year to coma and bring peace prosperity home.

Many devotees on this day go to Taudaha, the legendary ,lake home of naga king Karkotaka about 6 K.m. south of central Kathmandu to pay  tribute to him. This day falls exactly on 5th day of bright fortnight of Bhadra (early August).

 

Janai Poornima (July-August): This is a big day for the entire Hindu community specifically for the Brahmins (the priestly class).Janai means a three stringed sacred thread necklace, the symbol of Hindu trinity worn by Brahmins and Chhetris and poornima means the full moon day .this is also the day for the Nepalese wear  Raksya Bandhan (a safety thread bon)

Many prefer their Brahmin priests to put it around their wrists with the chanting of mantra(holy hymns).The focal point of this festivity is the Kumbheswar temple in Patan. Quite a large number of devotees also go to Gosai Kunda a holy site about two days strenuous walk to the extreme northwest of Kathmandu.

 

Gaijatra(August): Gaijatra generally means the festival of cows .The most interesting part of this week long festival is the procession of the typically costumed people representing the holy cows on the day to heaven. Cows in Hindu religion are regarded as the guides for the departed  souls to heaven .So in Nepal the bereaved families  worship the cow on this day with the earnest hope that they would definitely  lead  their departed souls to heaven.

 

Mataya (August):Mataya is the Buddhist festival of lights which is  held sometime in late August every year. Its antiquity goes way back to the 11th century A.D. The most interesting part of this festival is the procession of the devotees holding burning candles that goes around almost all the important .Buddhist shrines and sites scattered in the city of Patan.

 

Gun-la: This festival (July-August )is known ass festival of fasting, penance, and prayer. Batches of people play drums, flutes and cymbals all over the  city with recitation of prayers. Devotees sing hymns at the Swayambhu Stupa earning in the morning in honour a of Lord Buddha. They spin the prayer wheels at the base of the stupa and offer their homage and prayers at numerous shrines surrounding the Swayambhu hill and way back to their homes .Buddhist sculptures and hymns are recited at Buddhist monasteries and shrines in the evening. This festival lasts for a month. The Mataya festival hold in Patan(July-August).This festival is a local Buddhists festival. A group of devotees playing musical instruments and dancing go around all the chaityas of the city from  early morning till late afternoon .The devotees light various lamps is celebrating on the third day following Raksha Bandhan. The procession  of devotees going to Buddhist Chaitya are also consisted of devil dancers and funny mask figures.

 

Krishnastami (August): Krishnastami –the birth of  anniversary of Lord Krishna the great epic hero of Mahabharata is a very important holiday for the entire Hindu community. The focal point of this great day is the  famed Krishna temple of Patan Durbar Square where thousands of devotees –more women in their finest ceremonial red sari beeline to pay tribute to Lord Krishna on this day.

 

Another attractions of this festivity is the fasting women’s group singing and dancing in and around the Patan Krishna temple .Quite a number of them spend the night offering ceremonial lamps.

 

Panchadan (August): Panchadan is the Buddhists festival of charity .The main feature of this festivity is the giving away of alms firstly to the Buddhists monks and then to beggars .

As a very  old custom goes it Buddhists rich and poor both on this day in Patan visit many important monasteries as well  as the Buddhist family houses to collect alms where they are  traditionally treated as the saints of  Buddhist mission .The main venues for this traditional charity show in Patan are Kwabahal the famed golden temple to Buddha, Nagbahal. Ubahal and Bhinchhebahal and of course guito Bahee known for their devotion to the traditional customs and manners .

 

Gokarna Auncy(August): Gokarna Auncy  is a father’s day .It falls on the moonless day of Bhadra. Those with father still alive treat their fathers on this day with as many dishes and gifts as they can afford and their  fathers in return bless them with all the best of everything they can wish for. But  those whose fathers are dead visit Gokarna ,a holy site to pay eternal peace of their departed fathers. Gokarna, only 6 k.m. northeast of central Kathmandu attracts thousands of fatherless pilgrims on this day –where they give away various foods and gifts to the Brahmins in the name of their deceased fathers.

 

Teej or Rishi Panchami(August/September): This festival observed specially by women folk and lasts for three days .On the first day ,women take bath for purification of their bodies. The first day is known as Rishi Panchami and women mash their bodies with a holy leaves known as datiwan. After this women enjoy by taking varieties of foods including best of sweets and fruits. Third day is observed by fasting whole day and worshipping gods and goddesses. Jubilant crowds of women in their bright red colour saries visit to Pashupatinath temple fasting and bath in the Bagmati river, emulating goddesses Parvati’s devotion to her husband Shiva.

 

Chhath: this colourful festival is observed in the Terai region all over south Nepal .It is observed on the sixth day  following the festival of Laxmi Puja or Dipawali and celebrated to welcome autumn season .A two day festival Chhath is celebrated by women with worship to sun God Surya. This festival is observed by fasts prayers and singing hymns. This festival falls on September.

 

Chatha (September): Chatha means the fourth day moon of August –considered as a day sacred to Ganesha, the elephant headed god of good luck. But it is a very bad day for the moon. A legend says this is the day the moon lost his full light which he used to enjoy every day before Ganesh cursed him.

The Nepalese celebrate this day offering various seasonable fruits and flowers to all powerful Ganesha and pray for protection from unnecessary evils.

 

Indra Jatra(September): The word Indra means the Hindu rain god and Jatra means  the festival. This week long festival officially begins with the raising of a huge 50 feet tall ceremonial pole at Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square in Kathmandu.

One of the main highlights of this festival is a week-long traditional display of age old images of Aakash Bhairavas (only their head portions though)-representing tantric forms of Indra –at important city points of Kathmandu valley.

Another attraction of this festival is the ceremonial pulling of the festival chariot of Kumari  the living goddess followed by the chariots of Ganesh and Bhairav two other living gods. Our king always attends this ceremony .To mark this occasion traditional dancers representing various divine spirits perform their legendary serials at  Basantapur Square on this day.

 

Bada Dashain: The grandest and the most important national festival of Nepal .The bright fortnight in the month of Ashwin (September-October)is the season for Dashami or Durga Puja. It is also the best harvest season in Nepal.

The first day of the celebration is called –‘Gatasthapana’ which means the installation of a ceremonial water Durga. Sand is placed in a clay pot near the water vessel and barley seeds are sown. The pot is covered so that the seeds sprout into Jamaras in darkness. On this occasion people visit different holy shrines on river banks to take ritual morning baths. Them they visit temples of the nine important Durgas or goddesses to worship them .this is why the first nine nights of the festival are termed Navarati since each night is devoted to the worship of a mother –goddesses. Festive mood pervades in towns and villages. Masked dances are performed in Patan. There is also a public performance of the Nava Durga dances. The festival of Pachali Bhairav is also  celebrated and people pay homage to goddess Ajima.

 

Five days (rom the second day to the sixth) pass with normal celebrations. The afternoon of the 7th day in Kathmandu is celebrated with great pomp  and show .This day is known as  the Fulpati Day(bringing of sacred flowers )A  grand  procession begins at Jamal, Ranipokhari and marches towards Hanuman Dhoka, Durbar square, carrying a holy vessel containing a bunch of flowers brought from Gorkha, the ancestral home of the Shah Dynasty, Government employers in national dress join in the procession and it is very colourful sight to see and to photograph. There is also a large military parade in the royal Military gun fires commences as a feu de jore in honour of the Durga Bhawani.

 

The eight day is called Mahastami or Kalrati-literally meaning black night .Many goats and buffaloes are sacrificed in the shrines of Durga, the mother goddess. Such activities can be witnessed in the Taleju temple in the heart of the city inside Hanuman Dhoka ,the old palace. The living goddess, Kumari, being the incarnation of Taleju, is worshipped.

On the ninth day  ,popular as Mahanavami, sacrifices continue and  people worship Durga Bhawani as usual.

 

The tenth day  known as Vijaya-Dashami, is the last day of the festival and is concluded with the ceremonial application of the red ‘Tika’ (rice grains mixed curd or yoghurt and coloured red)on the forehead as a blessing. Four  of five inches tall yellow Jamara (barley sprouts) are given with the tika and are worn in the hair on the day. These sprouts are gathered from the pot which is installed on the first day of the festival. Relatives visit the houses of their superiors to receive on blessings on VijayaDashmi. Greeting cards are also exchanged along with wish of best of health and for-occasion at Kumari Ghar, Kathmandu. People visit the Brahmayani temple in Bhaktapur to give offerings and to see the Nava Durga masks kept there specially  for this occasion .Buddhists also  celebrate khadga Yatra through tantric rites in many places of the Kathmandu Valley. The procession of Khadga Yatra is another spectacular attraction. It starts after people come out of various bahals (courtyards)of Kathmandu with the daggers which represent the image of Mother Durga. There is also another phase of special interest during this festival which consists of the Khat Yatra (cart festival). The Khat Yatra starts from Annapurna temple in Asontole and the Ganesh temple at Maruhity tole. More illustrious spectacle is the Asta Matrika dance which takes place in the courtyard of the old Royal Palace in Patan.

 

Tihar: The festival of light is celebrated in the month of October –November, two weeks after Bada Dashain for five days .Laxmi, the consort of  Vishnu and the goddess of wealth and good fortune is reversed during this festival. Thai festival is observed with gaiety and joy. Every house is washed, cleaned and decorated. People feel relaxed and happy and wear the best clothes .The near and dear ones of the family meet one another and those  who are far from home return to unite with their kith and kin. This festival is also called Yama Panchak. A homage is paid to Yama ,the god of death. Entire cities ,towns and villages are lit up beautiful illuminations in the  evening for five days .Varieties of food including sweets of different kinds are prepared.

 

The first day of the festival is known as Kaag  Tihar or “the day of the crow.” The crow is honoured on this day as the winged messenger of Yama and the Hindu underworld. The crow is fed with dishes of good food and grains.

The second days is a day of the dogs. The dog is regarded as a gate-keeper of  Yama and as a vehicle of the powerful and dreadful god, Bhairab. The veneration of dog on this day  is considered the best way to allow an easier passage to the kingdom of Yama after .All dogs are garlanded with flower in their necks and given rich foods and red mark on their forehead.

 

The third day is known as Laxmi Puja. This is a day of the cow which is greatly revered and respected in Hinduism. the afternoon and evening of this day are consecrated to Laxmi ,the goddess of wealth. A lighted pathway is prepared from the main entrance of the house to illuminate the way for the visiting goddess of wealth right up to the proper room where worship is offered. The mark of her footprint is made as if the goddess had entered each and every room of the house.

 

The fourth day of the festival is named as Goverdhan Puja. This is related to Krishna who protected cowherds, cattle and farms from rain and excessive flood by providing them with shelter beneath Govardhan mountain which is raised with his little fingers. The bullock is also worship as a vehicle of Lord Shiva in Hindu religion.

 

For the Newar community of Tihar culminate on the fifth day which is the day for brothers and sisters and is popularly known as ‘Bhai Tika’. Every sister worships her brothers on this occasion .The brothers sits down to receive Tika from the sisters .Yama ,the god of death is evoked by the sisters .After this ,a circle is made around the seat of the brother with mustard oil  and water to prevent evil spirits from causing him harm at the auspicious moment of the Tika which is given him for his longevity and good health. The brother is then given a multi-coloured tika on his forehead and worshipped with flowers and offerings .After this, the brother gives Tika to his sisters .Many kinds of sweets ,fruits and dried fruits are presented to the brother who offers his  sisters cash in return. All the family members rejoice and celebrate the occasion with a joyful feast.

 

Thus the tihar  celebrations traditionally cove a five day activity with specific observation and  are widely popular by  the name of ‘Dipawali’ or ‘Festival of lights’ all over the country.

 

Chhath(November): Chhath is a very important day for the Nepalese worshippers of the sun god. This festival is observed more enthusiastically in the Terai region of Nepal. The central point of this festival is the historical town of Janakpur Dham about 260 k.m. southeast of Kathmandu Rivers and ponds of  this town are crowed with the bathers on this day. This fasting is considered  incomplete without a purification dio. Thousands of fasting  devotees pour into holy river sides on this day long before it gets dark, make ceremonial lamps  and sit up all night singing prayer songs of the sun god .Breaking of this fasting is marked with the sighting  of the first day of the sun  next morning .the sun god on this day is worshipped with tremendous variety of seasonal fruits, flowers  and multicolored threads, symbolic of their readiness to give up anything they possess at the service of the god.

 

Bibha Panchami Mela: This festival falls on November-December. This festival makes the occasion of the marriage between Ram and Sita  .Central characters of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. A large number of devotees gather at Janakpur in southern Nepal ,the birth place of Sita. A traditional Hindu wedding ceremony is performed putting two idols in a chariot and followed by a large number of devotees dancing and singing accompanied by a concert.

 

Bala Chaturdashi (November/December): The focal point of this day is Pashupatinath Nath temple about 6k.m.east of Kathmandu where pilgrims in thousands pour into pay homage to Lord Shiva. Then as the age old custom would have it the pilgrims proceed for the traditional temple round scattering the seeds of seven different food grains all along the way leading to hundreds of Hindu shrines and sculptures located in the Pashupati area. This religious act is believed to secure a better place in heaven for their departed relations.

 

 

Christmas(December): Celebration of Christmas is very new in Nepal. However some Nepalese Christians whose number is comparatively very small celebrate this occasion on 25th of  December every year. Many department stores in the business section of Kathmandu and big hotel lobbies display beautifully decorated Christmas trees. The Nepalese people particularly the youths  seen to enjoy this occasion sharing fun with their Charistian friends.