Nepal is the country of festivals and it is said that there are more festivals than the days we have in a year cause Nepal is a multi religious and multi cultural country and it is home to the more than 100 different ethnic groups and each of them practice their own culture, lifestyle and languages and so, it is almost impossible to know about every festivals we have in Nepal so, here we have given some brief information about top festivals that is widely celebrated in Nepal.
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The Dashain Festival (Bijaya Dashami)
Dashain also known as Dasain or Bijaya Dashami which is the greatest and most celebrated festival in Nepal and Dashain falls in the month of October – November ( it is called Sarad Ritu – Autumn season, the pleasant months of the year in terms of weather and climate in Nepal) and the main feature of the festival is to gathering of the family members and friends, those who stay in different part of the country or abroad are returned home to celebrate this festival and people of Nepal get the longest holiday for this festivals as well, mostly it is celebrated for 15 days as people get 15 days holiday which is enough time to go back home, stay with family, get gather with family members and friends ( whom they might not have met for a year or longer) and return to job or work and mainly Nava Durga are worshiped during this festival.
The Dashain Festival is celebrated in the occasion of “Victory Over Evils” and basically, there are 2 stories behind it, the first one is “God Ramchandra got victory over Demon king Rawan who had kidnapped his wife Sita and the second is “Goddess Gurga got victory over Mahisasur Demon, the Mahisasur had become very powerful and was trying to capture the “Heaven” and so, all the Gods of heaven gone to Big Gods, the Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and these three major Gods created Goddess Durga ( a form of Shakti- the Power) with ten hands to fight over Mahisasur and She continuously flight with the Demon for 9 days and She got victory over the Mahisasur on the 10th day so, this day is called Bijaya Dashami ( Victory day) and we get Red Tika with Jamara from elders on this day as a prasad of Godess Durga and this program of taking Tika goes for next 5 days till the full moon day known as Kojagrat Purmina and the festival is over.
Tihar- Deepawali or Dewali
The Tihar is known as Deepawali as well and it is the second biggest festivals in Nepal and it is celebrated for 5 days and the Tihar is known as festivals of lights as well and the Deepawali falls in the months of end of October or November, right after 15 days of the Dashain Festival and the major feature of the festivals is the worship of Goddess Laxmi – the Goddess of wealth.
There are many stories behind of the festival and one of the famous stories is related to Yama (God of death) and his sister Yamuna. These brother and sister used to stay in different places and Yamuna wanted to see her brother Yama and sent Kag (crow), Kukur (dog) and Gai (cow) to call him but he did not come to see his sister Yamuna and in the last Yamuna herself went to see him and worshipped her brother (Yama) with five colored Tika and garland of Makhamali flower with making circle of mustard oil and asked him to stay her until the Oil, garland get dry cause the Mustard oil and the flower of Makhamali never get dry, which mean she wants her brother always to be with her so, now, every Nepali sisters do the same with their brothers. So, the Crow, Dog and Cow are also worshiped in this festival.
Deusi and Bhailo: A part from Lights, celebrations, and Tika Many Nepali young girls and boys pay Deusi and Bhailo in Deepawali Festival in Nepal which is old form of dancing and singing in which they travel from home to home in neighbors and this is called Deusi and Bhailo Khelne program. The household make elaborate plate with food and money to offers to Deusire and Bhailire and they offer blessing to the households for wealth, happiness, long life and well-being and basically, the group of men called Deusire and group of women called Bhailire but there days, it is common to see men and women in single group and pay together and basically, they play it for fund raising propose for some social work for the community these days as well.
Teej festivals is known as Haritalika as well and it is celebrated by Nepali women for the long life and good health and success of husband plus to have good relationship between husband and wife. The Haritalika Teej Festival falls in September and it is celebrated for 2 days, The Teej is famous among Nepali women and mostly married women goes to parents home to celebrate this festival so, they have great opportunities to see their parents and other friends around there since there is rare chance to see them after getting marriage for Nepalese women because there is not good transport as Nepal is full of mountain and hills so, there should be festivals or occasion to make gathering and see each others.
The first day of Teej is “Dar Khane Din”, in which day, all the women gather in their parents home (married and unmarried ) and make good food in the night and eat cause they stay fasting for the next day for the worship in the temple so, the next day they will go to the temple for the worship, the married worship for good health and long life of her husband and unmarried worship to have good husband and after worship in the temple they start singing and dancing, The folk music and dances add more flavor to traditional values of Teej.
Losar (Tibetan New Year)
The Losar is Tibetan New Year and the Buddhist Community or the people of the Northen Himalaya of Nepal are so much similar with the culture and lifestyle of the people of Tibet, So, mostly the people of mountain region especially, Sherpas, Tamangs and Gurungs communities celebrate the Losar however these day, the Government have given public holiday to celebrate this festivals and almost all the people have started to celebrate it. These people celebrate this festival by singing, dancing and feasting, people get gather around the Stupa or public place with dressed in a wide variety of beautiful traditional costumes and these three (Sherpa, Tamang and Gurung) community celebrate the Loshar differently in different day and it is called “Tamu Loshar” the Gurungs’ celebration, Gyalpo Lhosar for the Tamangs’ Celebration and Sonam, Losar for the Sherpa celebration.
Nepali New Year
The First day of the year is widely celebrated in Nepal and the Government of Nepal has announced public holiday for the New Year celebration and it is known as “Navavarsha” (New Year) in Nepal, we have official calendar in Nepal that is different from English calendar (AD) and our calendar starts from the first day of the first month Baisakh and normally, this day falls in the second week of the April ( in English calendar) and we go picnic, arrange party or people celebrate it differently as they wish.