The 10 Greatest Hindu Festivals of Nepal: Nepal is one of a landlocked country in the Earth. It is situated in South Asia. The total land area is 1, 47,181 sq.km. Nepal is a small country situated between two huge countries of Asia, India, and China. Nepal is a common home of people of different communities with culture and ethnic groups. Their religions, customs, and language are different. In Nepal, there is unity in diversity.
Nepal is not only the land of mountains and nature; it is also the land of festivals. There are more than 60 festivals is celebrated in Nepal every year. All the national festivals are fixed according to dates and religious Nepalese festivals are set by astrologers following the lunar calendar. And the best part about the festivals of Nepal is that all the ceremonies are celebrated with the same devotion and galore the way it uses to be celebrated in hundreds of years ago when people had no other means of entertainment.
Top 10 Hindu Festivals Of Nepal
Inside the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepal, Dashain festival is the greatest and biggest festival of Nepal Hindus. Like other Nepalese festivals, it is also based on the lunar calendar and falls in the months of from mid-September to mid-November. Dashain festival is celebrated for 15 days from the Dark moon day (Ghatasthapana) to the full moon day (Kojagrat Purnima). It is a festival celebration of great delight, enthusiasm and rapture and accomplishments. The time of Dashain is very fine and well celebrations in Nepal.
The weather is fair and mild, it is right after the monsoon as well as there is no more mud or dust. Farmers are getting happiness from their tiring season of farming plantations and weddings. Schools, colleges, factories, and Gov. Offices remain to close. Ripening and rustling crops to harvest, fair and pleasant weather, busy roads and paths, crowded shops, speedy renovations and cleanliness of Houses, roads, temples, taps, etc. and decorations all symbolize the arrival of the greatest festival celebration.
Dashain celebrates the inevitable victory of virtue over vice, of truth over untruth and of justice over injustice. From the dark moon, the tenth day known as Vijayadashami is the main day of the greatest festival of Dashin. On this day, people take red tika, yellow plants barley (Jamara) from their elders and receive blessings. Red tika (a mixture of red vermillion powder and curd) is the symbol of both fortune and victory in Hindu culture. Dashain is also the occasion of family gatherings and feasts people forget their differences and misunderstandings and visit their relatives.
2) Tihar (Deepawali)
Nepal’s second biggest festival Tihar festival is also well known by differently like Diwali or Deepawali. Tihar is the second greatest festival celebrates after Dashain. This festival is celebrated for five days in late autumn. It has its unique ways of celebration. During this festival, people will honor animals and birds like crows, dogs, cows and as well as the goddess of wealth (Laxmi) and luck. On the last day, brothers are greets and bless by the sisters and sisters.
As numerous candles and festive lanterns will be lit up for the Goddess of Laxmi, the Tihar festival is also well-known as the festival of lights. The crow and the dog are regarded as the messenger of the Yama, the God of Death. The first two days observe their worship. On the third day, (Gai Tihar) holy cow is worshiped in the morning and Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth is worshiped in the evening. It is one of Hinduism beliefs that Goddess Laxmi would bring fortune to the worshiper. On the fourth day, oxen are worships in much the same way as the cows and dogs.
Deepawali Celebrated In All Over Nepal
Some, though not all Hindus, worship toward Goverdhan Mountain on this day and make a “mini-mountain” of cow dung to represent it too. On the occasion of the day, Newar community people perform a self-worship ceremony called Maha Pooja. On occasion, people worship one and celebrate and eat special traditional delicious cuisine and drinks.
The Newar community also celebrates its new year on this day. Every house, buildings, and temples are graced by the rows of lights, usually the traditional Nepali lamp (diyo) of twisted cotton wick in a small clay bowl of mustard oil. The last day of Tihar is called Bhai Tihar, usually known as Bhai Tika. On this day, sisters pray to the god Yama (God of death) for the long and prosperous life of their brothers and brothers. Tihar is celebrated with lights, the lighting of the butter lamp everywhere in the houses and cities. Children and elders enjoy firecrackers; go door to door singing Deusi and Bhailo.
3) Buddha Jayanti
10 Greatest Festivals of Nepal one is Buddha Purnima’ is also known as “Birthday of Buddha” or ‘Buddha Jayanti’. The Buddha Purnima is celebrated to memorialize the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautam Buddha, the three important events in the life of Buddha. It is celebrated on the full moon night in April or May and Vaisakha month according to the Hindu calendar.
Buddha Jayanti is considered as the Thrice Blessed Festival, on this specific day Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC, his enlightenment or attainment of supreme wisdom in 588 BC and his attended Parinirvana in Kushinagar (death of Buddha) at the age of 80. Buddha Jayanti is a detailed occasion and Buddhist monasteries all around the world resound with sermons, prayers, and recitals of Buddhist scriptures throughout the day in front of a statue of Lord Buddha. This festival is celebrated throughout South-East Asia. The festival is celebrated by Buddhists people. It is the holiest time for devotees in the Buddhist calendar.
Buddha Purnima is also known as Vaisakha Puja in India. During this day Buddhist devotees make donations to the temples and monasteries. People gather into large groups to parade through the streets while chanting prayers Om Mani Pad me Hung” which peace Mantra of Buddha and means to “Hail to the jewel in the lotus” to the Lord Buddha to thank him for all his honest provisions.
On this day the Buddhists devotees take bathe and wear only white clothes. They offer flowers, candles, incense and fruits to the statue of the Buddha. Every year people from all over the world travel to visit the Mahabodhi tree, the site where Buddha attained enlightenment. Colorful pray flags are tied on the trees and fruit and candle offers there.
4) Gai Jatra (Cow Festival)
Gaijatra is one of the popular Hindu festivals of Nepal. It is celebrated by the Newar community in August with great excitement and enthusiasm especially in Kathmandu and also outside the valley. Gaijatra is the festival of the national animal cow. In the Nepalese language, a cow is known as Gai and the festival is known as Jatra. It is believed that this festival is celebrated for clearing the route to heaven for the deceased family of a member.
In the early morning, local Newars people give a bath to the cow, especially cleaning their tails. Then the cows are decorated with colorful, red Tika and beautiful garlands. After finishing those rituals, the cow processions begin to parade around the whole city. If the cow is not available, young boys will dress up as cows to pray for the dead. During the boisterous marches, they will deliberately walk through the temples, the statues of the gods and goddesses and other sacred places.
When the parades pass by, many people will offer the foods, gifts and petty cash to the cow owners and the cow or a boy dress as a cow.
Similarly, it’s believed that this kind of giving will bring them good luck in the following days. On this day people also have fun as they dress up comically? The political and social problems are mocked publicly. Although Gaijatra is celebrated in all three districts of Kathmandu valley including Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and also outside the valley in some district too. Especially, it’s a joyful whole day in Bhaktapur in high spirits and different ways.
Besides sending a child dress like a cow around the city, different other things are dose in Bhaktapur. On this day they perform their special stick dance called “Ghintang Ghising”. During the Gaijatra festival varieties of shows are staged for the whole week and people thoroughly entertain the process. It is believed that Gaijatra started from the period of King Pratap Malla, who had lost an only son. This loss caused great sorrow to the queen that she gone to depression and stopped laughing.
So the king decided to make his beloved wife make happy again. So, he ordered his people to take out a procession from each house who had lost their family member that year. Similarly, the queen can understand she was not the only one who lost a beloved one son. Likewise, I also ordered those during this festival have as much fun as possible so that the queen would smile. Finally, when the people took out the procession, the queen realized that a lot of people had lost their dear ones just like she lost her son. This parade helped to console the queen and the satires against the problems were so funny she burst into laughter or smiles. Since then the festival has been celebrating every year with the same enthusiasm.
5) Janai Purnima
In the 10 Greatest Hindu Festivals of Nepal, he Janai Purnima is one of the religious and a cultural festival in Hindu’s. Which is usually celebrates in early August in Nepal. Janai Purnima, mostly know as Janai Purne and also known as Kwati Purne, Srawani Purnima, Rishi Purnima, and Raksha Bandhan is one such festival which very magnanimous.
Janai Purnima, the Sacred Thread Festival. In this festival Hindu men, especially the Brahmans and Chettris to perform their annual change of Janai worn across the chest. This thread is given to males during a religious ceremony calls the ‘Bratabandhan’. The ‘triple cord’ made of cotton is a symbol of body, speech, and mind, and when the knots are tied the wearer is supposed to gain complete control over each.
However, this is also the day of Rakshya Bandhan when males, females, and children regardless of station and caste tie a sacred yellow thread around their wrist. Raksha means ‘protection’ and Bandhan means a bond, which is supposed to bring good vibes to the wearer and if tie to the tail of a cow in Laxmi Puja. It is believed that once the wearer dies, the cow will help him to cross the Salli River Bhaitarni, by allowing the dead to cling to her tail.
Rakshya Bandhan Is Popular In Hindu’s
This festival is very much popular among the Hindus. Janai Purnima is also referrers to as Raksha Bandhan and on this day sisters tie Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers and pray for their brother’s long life with a share of the responsibility of their potential care. Brothers, in turn, give them return gifts and vows to protect and care for them a long life. So, that it’s called Raksha Bandhan.
On this day mostly the Newar community cooks a traditional special food called Kwati, a soup of nine-mixed-beans – Black-eye Peas, Cow Peas, Black Lentils, Mung, Peas, Rajmas, Chickpeas, Soybeans and eaten with wheat-bread (chapatti). Newar farmers offer different food items to frogs on this day. They considered the frog as an agent of the God of rainfall. So, it’s believed that worshiping the frog and making offerings of different food items help to increase the production of crops, etc.
Teej festival is the fasting and greatest festival of women in Nepal inside10 Greatest Festivals of Nepal. It is celebrated in August or early September. Married women observe Teej fast to honor Lord Shiva and for a long and healthy life of their beloved husband. Unmarried girls also observe fast on this day for a good husband like Lord Shiva. Teej celebrations last for three pious days. They perform traditional dances and songs which is form an important feature of Teej celebrations.
Every woman wears new clothes especially Red color which is considered auspicious for women observing Teej fast. Usually, most of them dress up in red color clothes. On this day, women dress up beautifully. They clad themselves in red-colored apparel, wear glass bangles, heavy ornaments and apply henna. Teej allows women to dress like newlywed. The monsoon Nepalese festivals of Teej are dedicated to Goddess of Parvati and her union with her husband, Lord Shiva. They celebrate this festival for longevity and prosperity for their husband and family.
According to mythology Goddess Parvati is said to have gone through severe reparation and took 107 births on the earth to finally unite with Siva. A flock of women spent the night; waterless fast and sleepless is symbolic of Parvati’s hardship to get love.
The first day of this festival Teej is known as the ‘Dar Khane Din’. On this day, the women gather at one place and perform traditional dance and sing devotional songs. A special food called ‘dar’ is eaten. The celebrations continue till midnight after which the 24-hour-long fast begins. The second or the fasting day of the Teej festival is dedicated to pujas or prayers. Some women keep fast without any food and drops of water while others take liquid and fruit.
Teej Symbolizes Of Lord Shiva
Consequently, fasting is attended by both married and unmarried women. They dress colorfully and visit a nearby Shiva temple. After worshiping God they start singing and dancing on the way and temple area. During this festival, almost every Shiva temple get full by devotee but the greatest Hindu’s temple Pashupatinath Temple gets the highest number of devotees and visitors.
At the temple, women circumnavigate the Shiva Linga, which symbolizes Lord Shiva, offers the praying with flowers, sweets, and coins. On the third or final day of the joyous festival of Hindu Nepalese women, it calls Rishi Panchami. On this day, the seven sages of the seven saints Sapta Rishi, Vashishta, Kasyapa, Atri, Bharadvaja, Vishwamitra, Gautama and Jamadagni are worships by women in a belief that it will cleanse all sins of the previous year.
Likewise, women take a holy bath with red mud found on the roots of the sacred Datiwan bush a special holy plant, along with its leaves. After three hours of rigorous cleansing, they come out purified and relieve from all sins. After purifying them shelf they sit in a semicircle while a priest sitting in the middle chants devotional prayers. Teej festival also allows women full freedom of expression.
Consequently, women have traditionally used this occasion to express their pains and misery in the songs they sing while dancing. With the advancement of communication and awareness, women these days use this occasion to voice their concerns about social issues, discrimination and domestic violence against women.
7) Shree Krishna Janmashtami
Krishna Janmashtami’ is one of the holiest festivals of the Hindu religion. According to Hindu culture and traditions, Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Krishna. In Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna is regarded as the 8th avatar or ‘Reincarnation’ of Lord Vishnu. This festival is hugely celebrated throughout the whole country.
The festival is observed on the eighth day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Bhadrapad (August or September) as per the Nepali calendar. Lord Krishna is regarded as one of the greatest lords in Nepal. Krishna Janmasthami, also known as Krishna Janmasthami or Gokulasthami on Krishna Janmashtami numerous devotees flock to the ancient Krishna temple in old Patan Durbar Square to keep vigil through the glorious night of his birth.
Moreover, a crowd of many devotes including both men and women edge their way slowly up narrow steps. The seat in the temple’s dark interior to where the main idol stands. There devote offer flowers, coins, and food and wait for a glimpse of an idol of Lord Krishna. After the temple priest gives them ‘Prasad’ (religious offering) they make their way down to join the multitude of devotees on the streets around the Patan.
One of the most interesting festivals is in the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepal. The Holi is a festival of colors that every year celebrates according to the Hindu religion (March) in the month of Falgun. The Holi festival is celebrated with colors, water, sweets, balloons, and music. People put a different color on each other as a token of love. People go to houses of relatives and friends in a group to celebrate this festival with each other. They put colors on each other to eat sweets and play music and dance the whole day.
People in Terai celebrate Holi on the next day after Kathmandu valley and other hilly reasons for Nepal. On this day, most of Gov. Offices remain closed. The whole Kathmandu valley is engaged in the festival atmosphere. Whether people know each other or not, they’ll be sprays with colors powder and water. Some people organize a picnic and musical concert to celebrate Holi festival with friends, family, and relatives.
Colors Of Festival (Fagu Poornima)
Hence, this day people go to the temple to worship Lord Vishnu. In the Kathmandu Valley, Fagu Poornima starts with the raising of the Chir pole in front of Kumari House in Kathamandu Durbar square. The pole is brought down, draggers to Tudikhel and burnt to cinders. The ashes are carried home by devotees as it is believed it will provide them protection against evil.
Similarly, after all, this festival was originally celebrates within a Hindu mythology. King Hiranyakashipu was so arrogant who commands everybody in his kingdom to worship him and didn’t allow people to worship Lord Vishnu. However, Prince Prahlada was an ardent devotee of Vishnu and openly opposed his father. This enraged Hiranyakashipu.
Since then, the king ordered his sister Holika’s was burn the prince on the full moon night. Under the blessing of God Vishnu, Prahlada was unscathed while Holika was burned into ashes. After that Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Narshima and killed the demon, King. Since Holika was destroyed, the festival is named after her and celebrated as the victory of God over evil.
9) Maghe Sankranti
In the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepal, Maghe Sankranti occurs on the first day of the month of Magh of Bikram Sambat (mid-January). It marks the coming of warmer weather after the winter season and better days of health and fortune. It is also considered among important festivals of Nepal. The festival is also known as Makar Sankranti or Maghi. It’s celebrated with great joy all over Nepal among the Hindu community also in Terai.
Alike every festival in Nepal, Maghe Sankranti also has its own story behind its celebrations. Hindu devotees worshipped lord Mahadev with a belief that it would bring a good supply of foods and wealth. On this day people take holy baths in holy rivers like Triveni, Shankhamool, Dolalghat, Bagmati or any other religious rivers of Nepal.
However, rather having a busy schedule family gather together and eat special foods like ghee, Chaaku, Tarul, teel laddus (sesame laddu), etc. These foods are eats as to make human bodies warm up from inside in the winter of January. Families gather together for the celebration. Daughters and sons-in-law are also invited for lunch. People belonging to the Newar community massage their body and head with sesame oil as a belief that it would make them strong and warm from inside.
The Maghe Sankranti is also the biggest festival of the Tharu community in Nepal. Tharu community is commonly residing Terai region south part of Nepal. They celebrate Maghe Sankranti as ‘Maghi’. In the Tharu community, Maghi is considered as the New Year. On this day Tharu community people organized meals in Tundikhel where Tharu People put different food stalls, shop also cultural programs resembling Tharu culture and tradition with their traditional dress up. People from different communities participate in this meal and get to know about the Tharu community through this meal.
10) Maha Shivaratri
A very famous in the 10 Greatest Festivals of Nepal, Maha Shivaratri is the greatest festival of the Hindu community mainly celebrates on the month of Falgun (February/March). Likewise many other festivals of Nepal, there are also vast stories behind the celebration of Shivaratri. One of them is, during Samundra Manthan, the poison Halahal came out of the ocean. It started creating destruction all over.
To protect the world from the devastation Lord Shiva drank the poison and managed to keep it in his throat. Lord Shiva protected the world from the dangerous poison. For this reason, people started celebrating the day as Shivaratri and thanking Shiva for saving the Earth. It is believed Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this day. In some places, Shivaratri is considered as marriage anniversary of Shiva-Parvati.
In Maha Shivaratri, Pashupatinath temple has the biggest possession. On these days, Hindu devotees from all over Nepal and all over Southeast Asia visit Pashupatinath. A large number of Sha from all over the world come to Pashupatinath for on the occasion. Different types of Shadus you can see around Pashapupati and its surroundings.
Shiva devotees observe the whole day and night fasting. Shiva Linga Pooja is a dose in the night by chanting mantras, Nepali shiva bhajans, offering Beal leaf and pouring water on the Linga. People set fireplace around the temples to warm up Lord Shiva at night Children go on search of wood to set holy fire singing “Shivaji lai Jado bhayo aago deu”. (Shivaji is feeling cold, give some fire). In villages and towns, big driftwood is burned in places and people sing Shiva Bhajans the whole night.