Holidays in Nepal

Holidays and Weekends in Nepal

It is often joked about Nepal that there are more holidays in this country than there are days in a year. This is partly true, because in Nepal there are only 50 official holidays, and they last 120 days a year. Therefore, it is not surprising to get confused in Nepalese holidays, and also because most of them are religious and are celebrated according to the lunar calendar, and their date changes from year to year. It suffices to cite just a few of the most important holidays for the Nepalese to understand the scope of the celebrations that cover the country every year.

In the month of Magha (our January-February), Magha Sankranti is celebrated – the day of ritual ablutions on the eve of the arrival of spring. This holiday is dedicated to the god Vishnu, who is thanked for the fact that after winter the days begin to become longer and warmer. Then celebrated Basant Panchami is the celebration of the arrival of spring. On this holiday, the Hindu goddess Saraswati, who patronizes education, arts and crafts, is revered. Maha Snan is the day of washing the images of the god Shiva, it is washed with milk, yogurt and honey and decorated with flowers and bedspreads embroidered with gold.

Next month Falgun (February-March) again has several important holidays. Lhosar (Losar, Lozar) – the Tibetan New Year, which is celebrated mainly by the inhabitants of the Himalayan region: Tibetans, Sherpas, Gurungs. On this day they arrange street concerts of folk dances and songs. These traditional dances can be seen in Khumbu, Gelambu and other northern regions of Nepal, as well as near the Boudhanath stupa in Kathmandu. National Democracy Day is celebrated on February 18 and is dedicated to the people’s revolution of 1950-51. Maga (Maha) Shivaratri – the great night of Shiva, this holiday is considered the birthday of Shiva. During the festival, crowds of smartly dressed Nepalese carry giant festive chariots with images of Shiva through the streets and squares of Kathmandu. This is one of the biggest Hindu festivals, with crowds of pilgrims flocking to the Pashupatinath temple complex in Kathmandu. Holi, or Fagu Purnima is a fun holiday during which, according to Hindu custom, it is customary to pour water on each other and sprinkle with paint, which symbolizes the sacred flame in which the ferocious demon goddess Holika burned down, and with her her evil intentions. For the Nepalese, this means that it is time to change the old clothes.

According to MCAT-TEST-CENTERS, in the month of Chaitra (March-April), the following important holidays take place. Goda (Ghode) Jatra (Yatra) – horse festival, symbolizing the victory over the devil Tundi, trampled by horses. Horse riding competitions are held in the center of Kathmandu, and horse races are organized in Tundikhel. On the same evening, the Pasa Chare holiday takes place – a solemn procession is designed to provide protection from underground demons. During the holiday Chaitra Dasai (Dasin) at noon, offerings are made in the temples of the mother goddess Durga, who gave power to the god Rama to defeat the despotic Sri Lankan king Ravana and return his wife Sita. On the holiday of Seto Mahendranath, the deity of compassion White Mahendranath is taken out on a special stretcher from the temple in the old city and carried through the streets. The Dumzhe holiday is celebrated by the Sherpas at the Junbesi Monastery in the Everest region. On the full moon in Lumbini, the birthday of Princess Mayadevi, the mother of the Buddha, is celebrated. This festival is called Chaitra Purnima. Ram Navami – the birthday of the god Rama, is celebrated on one of the days of the festival. During the Bais Dara Balaju MelaThousands of people come to 22 sacred springs in Balaju for ritual ablutions.

The month of Baisakh (April-May) is considered the first in the Nepalese calendar. It begins with a noisy and fun celebration of Navavarsha, the Nepalese New Year. This holiday is associated with the rituals of cleansing the soul and body from the past and worshiping the gods for success and good luck in the new year. On this occasion, a big festivities – Bisket Jatra (Yatra) are organized in Bhaktapur. Images of Bhairava and Bhadrakali are carried around the streets in chariots for a week. The culmination of the holiday is the climbing competition on a high pole, decorated with flowers and flags – a symbol of good luck in the new year. Matatirtha Snan (Mata Tirth Aunsi) – Mother’s Day, as well as the day of commemoration of the souls of mothers who have already passed away, it is especially important for those whose mothers died last year. Another name for this holiday is literally translated “Look in the face of the mother.” In Nepal, the mother is revered on a par with the gods, and on this holiday all the children gather in their home. Bangadyo Jatra is considered the day of honoring Rato Machchendra, who guards the fertile valleys of Kathmandu. During the festival, the statue of the deity is carried on a chariot around the city of Patan. This festival is associated with a request from the god of rain before planting rice. Buddha Jayanti (Baisakh Purnima) – the biggest holiday for Buddhists, the birthday of the Buddha, is also considered the day when the Buddha achieved Enlightenment, and the day of his death. Worshipers head to the Swayambhunath Stupa and Lumbini, where Siddhartha Gautama is believed to have been born.

In the month of Jesh (May-June), the birthday of the god Kumar, the son of Shiva, is celebrated, the holiday is called Sithinakha. In the Khaptad region of western Nepal, pilgrimages are made to the holy sites of Ganga Deshara.

In the month of Asadh (June-July), one of the main Hindu fasts is observed, during which not a single animal can be killed. The Sherpas of the Khumbu region in asadhs gather in monasteries to exorcise evil spirits, the holiday is called Dumzhe.

During Shravat (July-August) there are also several holidays. During the Bhoto Jatra (Yatra) festival, the royal family comes to Patan to see the sacred jewel-embroidered robe of the Red Mahendranath, the patron saint of the Kathmandu Valley. This ceremony is meant to ensure good monsoon rains and a rich harvest. The Ganta Karna (Gantah Muga) festival marks the last day for rice planting. This day is celebrated with rituals to exorcise the devil that may have entered a person or his tools during the planting season. Krishna Jayanti (Astami) – the birthday of the god Krishna, the incarnation of the god Vishnu. Women bring offerings and oil lamps to the Krishna temple in Patan, spend the whole night at the temple, sing and dance. Festive ceremonies are also held at Changu Narayan Temple. Janai Purnima is a day of worship of Shiva, during which they perform ritual ablutions, cleansing from sins, and also tie sacred threads on the hand as a sign of blessing. Naga Panchami is the day of worship of the snake gods Nagas, the keepers of rain, earth and underground riches. Houses are decorated with images of snakes, near the water – the habitat of snakes – they bring offerings and pray for the harvest. Yartung is a horse racing festival held by the inhabitants of the high-altitude villages in the Annapurna region, takes place at the temple complex in Muktinath.

Per month Bhadra (August-September) is held Gai Jatra (Yatra), which means “Day of the Cow”, or “Day of Remembrance of the Dead”. In Hinduism, it is believed that the sacred cow helps their souls when crossing the river that separates the land of the dead, and opens the gates to it with its horns. To help the relatives and friends of the dead to escape from grief, this holiday has another connotation – it is the “Day of Fools”, when any fables are allowed to be freely printed in the press, and comedy performances or mocking parodies of officials can be arranged on the streets. Indra Yatra – a holiday in honor of the god Indra lasts 8 days. Theatrical performances take place daily in the squares. The festival is accompanied by a ritual procession in honor of the elephant god Ganesh, veneration of the destroyer god Kal Bhairava and heavenly Akash Bhairava, as well as a trip around the city of the Living Goddess Kumari in a chariot. A huge Bhairava mask is brought out for everyone to see, from the mouth of which chang (local beer) flows for everyone to freshen up. During Gokarna Aunsuli Father ‘s Day is celebrated. Those whose father died in the past year must take a ritual bath at the Mahadev Temple in Gokarna. Just like on Mother’s Day, children gather in their father’s house to pay respect and respect to their father. To Teej (Teese) women put on their most beautiful saris and jewelry and for three days and nights they sing, dance and bathe at the Shiva temple in Pashupatinath. Women ask God for longevity and well-being for their husbands, and unmarried girls for a good groom.

Ashvin ( September-October) celebrates Dasain or Durga Puja – the most important Hindu holiday of the year. Work stops for almost a week, families gather together to make offerings and sacrifices to the goddess Durga, who is a symbol of valor and courage. During the festival, fireworks are arranged and kites are flown. The holiday lasts 10 days. Ninth day of the holiday – Navami, the only day of the year when the Durga Temple at Durbar Square in central Kathmandu is open to the public. On the tenth day, when Durga’s victory over the world Evil is celebrated, thousands of pilgrims go to the goddess Kumari and the king and queen for blessings. On the last day of the holiday, the eldest man in the family puts a ritual red dot – tick – on the forehead of all relatives, after which you can proceed to a plentiful feast.

In Kartik (October-November) Nepalese celebrate Tihar or Diwali, newar new year. The holiday lasts 5 days, each of which is dedicated to something specific. On the first day, the crow is revered as the messenger of the God of Death, Yama, on the second day, the dog, which, according to legend, guards the gates to the Land of the Dead. On the third day, the cow, sacred to Hindus, is revered, which is the embodiment of the goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi. In her honor, in the evening, candles are lit in every window and at every door and festive fireworks are held, and some people even draw small footprints leading from the street to the house so that Lakshmi will definitely come in and bless the hosts. Then, on the fourth day, Mho-puza, a Newar body festival, is celebrated, accompanied by a ritual to attract good luck and prosperity in the coming year, because. this day coincides with the first day of the year according to the Newar calendar. Tikhar completes Brother’s day, on this day, the sisters worship the God of Death Yama for the longevity and well-being of their brothers. On a full moon holiday Mani Rimdu monks in the high-altitude monasteries in the region of Everest call on the protective deities, arranging mask dances and solemn processions in their honor. The Haribodhini Ekadasi festival is held in honor of the return of the god Vishnu to earth after a four-month sleep underground. November 9 is Constitution Day, in honor of the new Nepalese constitution, pleasant in 1990.

In the month of Marga, Newars (November-December) gather for the Yomari Purnima holiday. A fair is held in the village of Panauti. A special rice flour cake is designed to protect rice stocks and ensure a full winter. Push per month(December-January) solemnly celebrated on December 28 – the birthday of His Majesty the King of Nepal, Birendra Birkam Shah Maiden. Biha (Vivaha) Panchami is a solemn procession of elephants, chariots and horsemen, which recreates the wedding procession in honor of the god Rama and princess Sita. The festival is celebrated in the city of Janakpur, which is located in the Dhanusa district in the eastern Terai. Prithvi Jayanti is celebrated on January 10th to commemorate the birthday of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the founder of modern Nepal. The festive ceremony takes place at the entrance to the Singha Darbar in Kathmandu.

Holidays in Nepal