Festivals are the best time to visit Nepal. However, many trekkers in Nepal miss festivals due to many reasons. As Nepal follows a lunar calendar for most of these festivals, there are few fixed dates for the celebrations. The community comes together here with joy and happiness all around. You can witness unique culture and tradition in this period. Each festival has its delights which you can also be a part of. Trekkers can ask the guides and plan their trip to be here in different amazing festivals. Here are some Nepalese festivals you expect to know about.
Dashain is the major Hindu festival in Nepal. It is celebrated throughout the nation mostly in the autumn season. Dashain falls in October and lasts for ten days. One can have a close look at the Hindu tradition and rituals during this festival. Trekking is also best during the period of Dashain.
Tihar "The festival of Light"
Tihar follows soon after the festival of Dashain. It might be anywhere from late October to early November. Tihar is one of the best times to be in Nepal. This five-day festival sees the houses decorated with lights and flowers. Similarly, many other rituals and celebrations take place each day of the festival. You can have a taste of authentic Nepali snacks and delicacies during Tihar.
Lhosar is among the main festivals in the Himalayas. It signifies the Tibetan New Year. Lhosar is celebrated on different dates depending on the locations in the country. The Sherpa, Tamang, Gurung, Magar, Thakali, and Bhotiya people celebrate Lhosar with joy. You can be in one of the Buddhist Monasteries where the community celebration takes place. With songs and traditional dances, you'll also have a chance to taste some Himalayan cuisine at the Losar festival.
Holi "the Festival of colours"
Holi is one of the major festivals of the Sub-Indian Continent. Nepal has its own taste and ways of celebrating Holi. The festival of colour is celebrated in public with music and active participation of the locals. Be in Nepal during March for experiencing the unique festival to the fullest.
Shivaratri is another major Hindu festival in Nepal. Dedicated to honouring Lord Shiva, this annual festival is celebrated towards the end of February. Devotees from all around the country gather in the shrines of Shiva for offerings and rituals. Shivaratri is celebrated with Devotional Songs-Bhajans, meditation, Yoga, and fasting throughout the day. Also, cannabis is consumed in different forms by the Sadhus during the Festival.
Asar 15 Festival : National Paddy Day
Asar 15 is the prime time to plant rice and is celebrated as a festival in the hills of Nepal. Nepali farmers celebrate the day as the hope of prosperity and good harvest for the year. The National Paddy Day is the name given to the day. You can also be a part of the festival. Experience plantation and different mud-games. The day ends with snacks of Dahi (Curd) and Chiura (Beaten rice) with other delicacies. 29th June is the English date of the festival.
Apart from these, there are several other major festivals in Nepal. Different regions have their own specialities. Hence, don't forget to ask your guide and be a part of the celebration in Nepal.
Gai Jatra-celebration Of The Feast Of The Cows
Gaijatra has a historical and social significance in Nepal. Mostly celebrated in the Kathmandu valley by the Newar community, today Gai Jatra is celebrated throughout the country and is marked as a public holiday.
Gai Jatra ( Nepali : गाईजात्रा, and Newari : सापारु) is the cow festival celebrated mainly in the Kathmandu valley by the community of Newar and Tharu. The word Gai represents a cow and Jatra for a festival. Celebrated in the fifth month of the Hindu calendar, Bhadra (August-September), the festival is observed with joy, along with savoring the monsoon rain. This year it falls on August 11.
It is said that. people in ancient times started worshiping Yamraj , "The God of Death" from Hindu mythology, on this day.
The modern way of celebrating Gai Jatra came into existence at the time of the Malla Kingdom. The current form of Gai Jatra which is performed with acts of humor, parody and comedy was started by the then King Pratap Malla of Kathmandu.
The legend says that;
Pratap Malla's son died at an early age. His consort was in great misery. The king, disappointed to see him reeling, tried many things to cheer him up, but failed miserably. He then announced that anyone who could make the queen laugh would be suitably rewarded. Therefore, he asked him to bring him the empty procession before the sad queen. The people of the city tried to put on different costumes and do humorous acts. The theatricality finally made her smile.
However, it is suggested that the smile was only for a time, the procession gave the queen great relief.
Today, people from every household in Kathmandu put their costumes and process along the street. The festival is widely celebrated and comedians are well known for performing on this day for the amusement of others.
Foreigners visiting Nepal during the months of August and September are suggested not to miss this great event.
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