Nepal has been a land for refugees since ancient times when Hindus escaped the Munghul invasion and later when the Gokha king unified the country that included two kingdoms of the Tibetan empire, Mustang and Dolpo… In addition, the Tibetans also moved here after the war with China, so the Nepalese were from Hindu and Tibetan they used two main calendars, the Bikram Sambat and the Tibetan calendar.
Nepal has more than four New Year celebrations, but the New Year is not the biggest, let us explore the major festivals in Nepal and if possible integrate these exciting holidays into your Nepal tour for a unique interesting experience!
1. Losar, the Tibetan New Year
– Time: February 24-26, 2020
– Location: areas of Tibetan origin
Losar is organized by people of Tibetan descent such as Sherpa, Tamang, Bhutia and Yolmo. This time the monasteries are decorated with colorful ornaments, people dressed in traditional clothes receive blessings from the monks praying for progress, prosperity and happiness. The first three days of the new year are the most important, people drink “chhaang”, a Tibetan beer / wine, and get together with family and friends to eat and drink.
Visit the many Boudha towers during Losar and do ceremonies at nearby monasteries if you are in Kathmandu on this occasion.
2. Maha Shivaratri, the birth of the god Shiva
– Time: February 21, 2019
– Location: Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated when spring comes, marking the birth of Shiva.
Hundreds of devotees visit the Pashupatinath Temple, one of the holiest Hindu temples in Kathmandu. Devotees sang “Om Namah Shivay” and “Mahamritunjaya” and stayed up all night praying for the light to rise above the darkness.
Around the Pashupatinath temple at this time will be surrounded by a stream of devout people waiting in turn to enter the temple. There are campers inside the temple waiting for the holiday.
3. Ceremony of Holi / Falgu Purnima
– Time: March 9, 2020
– Location: Nationwide (Big squares)
Holi celebrates the good things in life when spring comes, hoping the blessings of the gods for fertile soil for a bountiful crop.
This colorful and playful festival also known as Fagu Purnima is held throughout Nepal especially in the southern Terai region.
In the past, people used to use Pichkari (water gun) made of bamboo and throw colored water at each other, today plastic water guns are used. In addition, the water-filled ball is called Lola in Nepali, children start throwing lola at each other from the week before the official Holi day.
4. New Year’s Ceremony in Nepal
– Time: April 13, 14, 2020
– Location: Bhaktapur Durbar Square
The official Nepalese national calendar is Bikram Sambat whose New Year falls in mid-April, on this occasion various rituals like Bisket Jatra, Sindoor Jatra and Bode Jatra are performed to celebrate the new year in a traditional style.
A particularly lively and interesting place to welcome the new year is Bhaktapur Dubar Square where the Bisket Jatra festival takes place. People would pull wooden wagons, show the war between east and west of the city and then drag the wagon down a steep path leading to a river where they would build trees. Lingam column 25-m high.
In the afternoon of the next day, the pillar was pulled down and the new year officially began.
5. Buddha Jayanti, Buddha’s birthday
– Time: May 6, 2020
– Venue: Lumbini, Bouddhanath and other religious places
Buddha Jayanti is the birthday of Gautam Budhha Buddha (real name is Siddhartha Gautam). Siddhartha was the son of King Suddhodhan Gautam and Queen Maya Devi, born in the Sal (Shorea robusta) garden, located in the beautiful and peaceful Lumbini (Lumbini is a UNESCO cultural heritage site).
On this day, Lumbini was crowded with devotees. In the Kathmandu valley, Buddhist pilgrims gathered at the two great stupas Swyambhunath and Boudhhanath. Activities at the main Buddhist stupas and temples begin at dawn and continue until evening.
6. Dashain, Nepal’s largest festival
– Time: October 17 to 26, 2020
– Location: Nationwide, Family Ceremony
The longest and largest festival in Nepal lasts from the dawn to the full moon in September / October every year. On occasion for families and brothers gathered from all over the country to meet and bless each other. There are many rituals and activities that take place in the process, including: nursery rice in sacred water mixed with mud and cow dung. Going to the forest to cut bamboo for a game of swinging, killing cattle to sacrifice, the most important ritual is to give tikaa and lucky money, then eat together, then play swing, visit relatives.
– Time: November 13 to 17, 2020
– Location: Nationwide
Tihar, the second largest festival in Nepal, lasted only 5 days after Dashain, this festival sacrifices Yama, but Laxmi’s activities are more popular.
Story behind Tihar: Yama has a close sister Yamuda who has been apart for a long time, so the older sister sent crows (messenger to death), dog (guardian and also smells death), Cows and then personally visits his brother because there are holidays such as Crow, Dog, Cow, Ox Tihar when crows, dogs and cows are fed and tikaa is given. Bhai Tihar Day: Bhai means brother, sisters visit brother to give seven-color tikaa, purple mala wreath to bless her, in addition to receiving gifts. On this occasion, the activity of the goddess Laxmi symbolizes wealth, home decorated with colorful lights, sparkling candles.