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 celebrations.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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 worship.
Maha Shiva Rathi
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.