The Most Popular Festivals Celebrated in Nepal

The most popular festivals of Nepal show off its multicultural nature. above all, it has varied climate, rich biodiversity, and also diverse cultures.

The society has its own specific cultures and traditions for centuries. Each one has its own collection of festivals and customs to celebrate.

Nepal – The Land of Festivals

  • Nepal is always hailed as the land of festivals.
  • To one group or the other, every day is a day of celebration.
  • One’s pride in one’s own culture and respect for the others is the best part of it all.
  • Therefore these countless cultures and festivals coexist communally in Nepal.

Festivals of Nepal – Diverse in Nature

Nepal is not just about the majestic mountains, curvy roads and breathtaking grassy lands. But there are also some colorful and enjoyable festivals.

The country has people from various parts of India which makes Nepal’s festivals more diverse. If you want to witness its heritage and culture, then you’ll need to visit Nepal at one of those great festivals.    

Festivals of Nepal – Exhibit Culture and Tradition

The Nepalese people are keeping their culture and traditions close to their hearts. The age-old religious traditions are still in practice along with the modernity.

If you would like to know the place you’re visiting closely, then festivals are the best chance you’ve got. You can enjoy both your holidays and festivals in Nepal, and come back with a fine experience.

The following are the popular festivals of Nepal.

S.NoMonthFestival NameHow it is celebrated?
1JanuaryLhosarCelebrated with wearing traditional dresses and prayers
2JanuaryBasanta PanchamiCelebrated with offering to the Goddess Saraswati
3FebruaryMaha ShivratriCelebrated with special delicacies
4MarchHoliCelebrated with colored powders and color balloons
5MarchGhode JatraCelebrated with a horse race
6AprilNepali New yearCelebrated with chariot battle, sweets, fruits and gifts
7MayBuddha JayantiCelebrated with grand ceremonies and festivities
8 May / June Rato Machchhendranath Celebrated with a procession
9JulyNaag PanchamiCelebrated with special offerings
10AugustJanai PurnimaCelebrated with putting a sacred thread around their wrists
11AugustGai JatraCelebrated with worshipping a decorated cow
12AugustKrishna JanmashtamiCelebrated with worshipping Krishna and special prayers
13AugustRishi PanchamiCelebrated with paying homage to saints
14SeptemberIndra JatraCelebrated with masked dance performances
15September/ October TeejCelebrated with songs , dance and sweets
16OctoberDashainCelebrated with more offerings to the Goddess Durga
17October / NovemberTiharCelebrated with lamps, candles and colorful lights
18NovemberChhathCelebrated with offerings to the Sun
19NovemberMani RimduCelebrated with a masked dance
20DecemberKathmandu International Mountain film festivalCelebrated with a screening of movies

 

Lhosar

Lhosar -The Most Popular Festivals Celebrated in Nepal

Nepalese ethnic groups namely the Gurung, Tamang, and Sherpa, celebrate Lhosar. Lhosar is the first day of the New Year and every culture will observe the festival.

Young and old wear traditional clothes, and celebrations are conducted in cities and in more remote regions.

How Do They Celebrate Lhosar?

  • People celebrate it with dance, music ,social meet-ups.
  • As a result,they exchange greetings and presents to mark the New Year.
  • During this festival, families prepare special dishes for gods and goddesses.
  • Changkol, produced from chhaang a traditional Tibetan beer-like drink during Lhosar.

Basanta Panchami

Basanta Panchami-The Most Popular Festivals Celebrated in Nepal

Worshippers worship goddess Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and the craft, arts, and music maker. Even Basanta Panchami marks the end of winter and the start of spring.

Maha Shivratri  – Nepal’s Most Divine Festival

Maha Shivratri

During ‘Maha Shivaratri ‘, Hindus take a bath early in the morning and fast on that day. Then they visit the temples of Shiva.

Best place to see the festival is at Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath temple.Besides,thousands of Sadhus, Hindu holy men, smoke marijuana, found dear to Lord Shiva.

People often drink Bhang. It is a drink that has a combination of ground nuts, spices, herbs, and hemp extracts.

Special features of This Festival

  • The prayers and the aartis at night look entrancing.
  • A big fair takes place around the temple of Pashupatinath.
  • Therefore thousands of people are visiting it to see sadhus.
  • They also see other people  performing, singing, snake dancing, circus.
  • They also buy traditional and puja things.

Holi – A Vibrant Festival of Nepal

Holi

Holi is a celebration that is very vibrant and pleasant. People in Trerai celebrate on one particular day, and on the next day at Kathmandu and the hill regions.

People rub colored powders and throw colored water and water balloons on their families and acquaintances.

On this day, it is desirable not to carry any valuable items out with you.

Ghode Jatra – A Symbolic Festival

Ghode Jatra

Image Source

In the Kathmandu Valley, Ghode Jatra is symbolic and it is for warding off evil Gurumapa. People still believe that the demon’s soul lives underground at Tundikhel.

To stop him from getting up again, the Nepal Army is holding a horse race on this day.

Nepali New Year

Nepali New Year

This is a huge holiday in Nepal. Bhaktapur, where the Bisket Jatra takes place. The festival is especially dynamic to spend the day. A big cart bears the god Bhairab.

The cart starts its procession down streets. As a result, the festival ends with a chariot battle at Khalna Tole in Bhaktapur.

How Is the Festival of Nepal Performed?

  • Children including adults, give their mothers candy, fruits and presents to show respect.
  • Those whose mothers have passed away visit Mata Tirtha in west Kathmandu.
  • They  take a holy bath and perform rituals in remembrance of their mothers.

Buddha Jayanti

Buddha Jayanti

Buddha’s birthday falls on the first full day of the Hindu lunar calendar’s first month.

So, the festival is for both Hindus and Buddhists. People perform it in Nepal at Buddhist shrines and monasteries.

But a grand ceremony is conducted at the Lumbini,the  birthplace of Buddha.  Kathmandu is an exceptionally good place to enjoy the festivities.

Rato Machchhendranath – The Oldest Festival of Nepal

Rato Machchhendranath

Image Source

Held in Patan,it is the oldest and biggest festival in Nepal. People spend several weeks to design a huge chariot and eventually the deity Machchhendranath will be put inside.

Three days later, the chariot starts its procession toward Bungamati. Machchhendranath is the rain deity of Newar, and it is a festival of monsoon season.

Naag Panchami – Festival for Serpent God

Naag Panchami

Image Source

Naag Panchami falls halfway through the monsoon. It is a Hindu festival that worships Naag, the serpent god.

People worship Naag’s pictures  in doorways, and they offer milk.

People believe that worshipping Naag will guard them from snake bites. This festival shows respect for serpents as guardians of nature and ensures frequent rainfall in the Kathmandu Valley.

Janai Purnima – A Holy Thread Festival of Nepal

Janai Purnima

Janai Purnima is a holy thread festival. On this day, Hindu people are performing their annual Janai change.

People celebrate this festival by placing a sacred thread around their wrist. Gosaikunda, the high-altitude holy pool, bears witness to this day’s joyous celebration.

Gai Jatra – The Festival of Cows

Gai Jatra

The name of the festival is Gai Jatra (the festival of cows), and it is now a combination of three rituals .The first and the earliest practices include worship of Yamaraj, the ancient god of death.

The festival thus profoundly represents the recognition and celebration of death, as a part of life.Any family that has lost a member in the previous year would lead through the city in a finely decorated calf.

 Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami commemorates Krishna’s birth who is the lead character in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharat. On this day Hindu devotees visit the temples of Krishna.

In fact, thousands of devotees assemble in Patan Durbar Square at Stone Krishna Mandir.

Rishi Panchami

Rishi Panchami

Rishi Panchami is a festival that follows Teej Puja instantly. Hindu people add excessive significance to this Rishi Panchami festival.

They celebrate Rishi Panchmi immediately. So they pay homage to the Saints on this day. People believe that their sins will be forgiven during their menstrual cycle.

Indra Jatra

Indra Jatra

Image Source

Indra Jatra is one of Nepal’s most sought after festivals. The festival’s nature lies in its hope for a good harvest.

The Nepalese also engage in masked dance performances.People commonly consume Raksi, the popular Nepali liquor.

Teej –  The most important festival of Nepal. 

Teej

Teej is a Hindu festival, performed in September / October by women. Three days are observed for the festival. On the festival’s first day, married women fast for their husband’s life and wealth.

And unmarried women fast to get a good husband. The other two days are accompanied by annual Puja to bring happiness.

The Rites Performed by Women During the Festival

  • Women dress up in red Saris, with assorted ornaments.
  • Women sit around to dance and sing about womanhood.
  • They visit their families.
  • They enjoy different sweets before and after the fast.

Dashain – The Most Significant Festival of Nepal

Dashain

Image Source

Dashain is Nepalis’s most significant celebration. It is a festival of goodness that prevails above the darkness. Most families provide goddess Durga. They offer the goddess with male goats, ducks, chickens, eggs, and coconuts.

People enjoy the 15-day festival with their family members. Big swings are set up for babies. And family members collect Tika from their elders on their foreheads.

Tihar – The Second Largest festival of Nepal

Tihar

Tihar is the second-largest festival in Nepal, following Dashain. The people worship a separate deity in each of the three days: on the first day the crow, the carrier of Yama (the bringer of death); on the second, puppies, who are the custodian of Yama; and on the last, the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. They devote the Goddess with the oil lamps, candles and bright decorations.

Chhath – The Most Popular Festival of Nepal

Chhath

Image Source

Chhath is the most popular event in the Terai region, which falls after Tihar on the seventh day. Devotees fast and gather at river banks to make offerings to the Lord. The Terai region is the perfect place to watch this festival or Kathmandu Central.

Mani Rimdu

Mani Rimdu

Image Source

Mani Rimdu has three components to it. First, the festival’s blessing of red pills, and then they’re given to those participating.Third, the formation of a colorful sand mandala diagram carried from nearby hills; the diagram is the center point of the festival’s next 10 days. At the end ,the diagram is removed with the monks. They hold a ceremony of fire to expel the damage from the earth. Finally, Rimdu includes a masked dance too.

 KIMFF

Kathmandu International Mountain film festival

Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival is an annual film festival. It  has been running from 2000 and takes place in December in Kathmandu. It exhibits Nepali and international filmmakers. Their  work focuses on the mountain communities ‘ environmental or cultural aspects. It lasts for several days, so don’t skip out on watching a movie or two at KIMFF.

Related Questions

1.How many festivals are there in Nepal?

Each year over 50 festivals are performed in Nepal. The national festivals have fixed dates. But astrologers arranged religious festivals according to the lunar calendar.

2.What is the main festival of Limbu?

Chasok Tangnam is the most significant festival among the Limbu people. This festival occurs on a Senchengla month full moon day or the Nepali calendar Mangsir month.

3.What is Diwali called in Nepal?

The second most celebrated festival in Nepal after Dashain (Dussehra) moreover , Diwali in Nepal is better known as Tihar.

4.Why Teej fast is kept?

A fast is kept and they focus on the moon. The Hariyali Teej festival is also celebrated to mark Lord Shiva’s reunion with Goddess Parvati, the day Lord Shiva acknowledged Goddess Parvati as his wife. Goddess Parvati is also nicknamed as Teej Mata.

5.Why do we celebrate Chhath Puja?

The Chhath Puja is devoted to the Sun and Shashthi Devi (Chhathi Maiya). To praise them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to recommend that certain wishes be fulfilled. The Nepalese and Indian people, along with their Diaspora, celebrate this event.

Top 10 popular festivals of Nepal