Nepal, a predominantly Hindu and Buddhist nation, is gifted with assorted festivals which mostly takes place during post-monsoon season. Thanks to the indigenous cultures and inhabitants residing the greater northern region of Indian subcontinent, there is always something interesting to observe in Nepal.
With an area of 56,827 sq. mi and a population of approx. 27 million, Nepal is the 41st most populous country in the world. Moreover, what makes it distinct from other nations is its richness in cultures and festivities.
The Hindu culture is known to be most vibrant and colorful in the world. The celebration of any important event is carried out with huge feasting; when in such occasions the crowd comes alive with dancing and singing. A foreigner experiencing such events first-hand may find it overwhelming and very special. Sometimes, the rituals and ceremonies can leave you awe-struck!
Folklore and festivities are the integral part of Nepalese society.
List of major festivals celebrated throughout Nepal during Post-monsoon
#1 DASHAIN (Good Overcoming Evil)
Dashain is considered the biggest and holiest festival by Hindus and Buddhists alike, and is widely celebrated in Nepal and India. Taking place during October, it’s celebrated for 10 consecutive days. Sacrifices of Goats, Buffalo and other animals are widely offered to please deities.
The initial celebration started during the medieval time. According to legend, it all started when Goddess Durga destroyed the evil lord, bringing prosperity and happiness in the world it, therefore, ‘Kal Ratri’ is highly regarded during Dashain. Feasting with families is carried out for days. Young members of the family take blessings from the elders. Flying Kites covering the sky, is a common sighting during Dashain.
It consists a series of festivities; Ghatasthapana, Phulpati, Durga Puja, Mahanavami, Vijaya Dashami (Tika) and Kojagrat Purnima.
#2 TIHAR (Celebrating the Goddess of Wealth)
Tihar is the most vibrant celebration of all. The decorations are such magnificent that it can keep you staring and admiring for hours. Cities are brightly lit with colorful bulbs, tinsel decoration and places are decorated with “Rangoli -Colors”. Feasting is the major aspect of this festival. Even, gambling is allowed for 3 consecutive days.
It takes place during the month of October/November. Goddess of wealth “Laxmi” is primarily worshiped during Tihar.
On the first day of the festival people worship ‘Crows’ and on the second day ‘Dog’ is worshiped.
It consists a series of festivities; Laxmi Puja, Gobhardhan and Bhai Tika.
#4 INDRA JATRA & KUMARI JATRA (Biggest Street Festivals in Nepal)
Yenya is the biggest street festival in Nepal. This celebration consists of two festivities, Indra Jatra and Kumari Jatra. Held according to lunar calender, the day may differ every year (taking place in the month of September).
- Indra Jatra -It is marked by masked dances of deities and demons, displays of sacred images and decorations in honor of the God Indra -the king of heaven. According to a popular legend, Indra was held captive by inhabitants of Kathmandu and later freed when realizing its supremacy.
- Kumari Jatra –Kumari “the living goddess for Hindus” is honored and celebrated during Kumari jatra. Generally, a procession is taken out during the day. It originated in mid 18 century.
#5 TEEJ (Fasting)
The days of fasting and feasting is widely celebrated on the month of August/September. Popularly known as Teej, it tends to last for 3 pious days. It marks the communion of Goddess Parvati and Shiva –One of Hindu Trinity.
Teej ko lahara ayo bari layi… (The day of celebration has finally arrived..)
..is widely sang by women in this day.
Married women, for sake of their husband’s life and health, fast entire day for 3 days along with visiting temples for blessings. It is widely celebrated by organizing feasting by and for women. They are seen clothed in Red Sari, as Red is considered auspicious. Even, Indian women celebrate this homogeneous occasion widely.
The occasion starts from the time they eat a last meal prior fasting, popularly known as “Dar khane Din.”