A festival is always a meaningful event in Nepal
where the people find more joy in participation than
just watching. In Nepal every festival has some
purpose to serve; such as to bring rain or to have
good harvest, to honor a mother or father, to avert
calamities or to nourish one’s soul with something
spiritual. In fact festivals are the best way to
understand and appreciate the Nepalese way of life.
Navavarsha (April): The Nepalese New Year’s Day
usually falls in the second week of April i.e. the
first day of Baisakh. The day is observed as a
national holiday. The people celebrate it with a
great pomp and show. On this occasion, Bisket Jatra
is held in the City of Bhaktapur.
Baisakh Poornima (April): As Nepal is birthplace of
Lord Buddha, the Light of Asia, the triple
anniversary of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and
death is observed with many colorful ceremonies on
this day. People celebrate the occasion with great
veneration paying homage to Buddha at places like
Swayambhunath, Bouddhanath and Lumbini.
Red Machchhendranath Rath Jatra (May-June): This
festival is the biggest socio-cultural event of
Patan. The wheeled chariot of a deity known as
Bungdyo or Red Machchhendranath is made at Pulchowk
and dragged through the city of Patan in several
stages till it reaches the appointed destination
Lagankhel. The grand finale of the festival is
called the “Bhoto Dekhaune” or the “ showing of the
vest”. A similar kind of chariot festival White
Machchhendranath is also held in Kathmandu City in
the month of March-April.
Dumji (July): It is celebrated in all the Sherpa
settlements. The Sherpas of Kathmandu and Helambu
regions participate in dancing on this day.
Gaijatra (July-Aug): Gaijatra, popularly known as
Cow festival, is a carnival that lasts eight days.
Dancing, singing comedy and anything that causes
mirth and laughter are its highlights.
Krishnastami (July-Aug): It marks the birthday of
Lord Krishna. On this day, impressive ceremonies are
conducted at the Krishna temple in Patan and at
Indrajatra (Aug-Sep): The festival of Indra, the god
of rain, is observed with great enthusiasm in
Kathmandu valley. The festival lasts for eight days.
The chariot of Kumari, the Living Goddess, is taken
out in procession through the main streets of
Kathmandu. The festival is specially noted for the
echoes of drums and dancing feet of the masked
Teej (Aug-Sep): Teej is a Hindu festival celebrated
by women. Dancing, folk song and the red color of
women’s wedding saris dominate the days of Teej.
Women observe a fast flock to shiva temples where
married once pray for a happy conjugal life and
unmarried ones for a good husband.
Dashain / Durga Puja (Sep-Oct): The Dashain festival
is the most important festival of the Neplease. The
entire country is in enthusiastic holiday mood at
the time of the festival.
Tihar (Oct-Nov): Known as the “Festival of Lights”,
Tihar is celebrated for five days. Houses are
illuminated at night and special sweets of different
varieties are prepared.
Vibhaha Panchami (Nov-Dec): This is a famous
festival of Janakpur in the eastern Terai. The
occasion commemorates the marriage of Sita to Ram,
one of the most venerated Hindu divinities. It
attracts thousands of pilgrims from India to
Mani Rimdu (Nov-Dec): It is a Sherpa dance drama
performed in the Khumbu Region. It is held annually
at Tengboche and Chiwong monastries and at Thami
Gomba. The performers are monk and the occasion is
highlighted by much gaiety and feasting.
Lhosar (Feb): This festival is most impressively
observed in the month of February by the Sherpas.
They organize folk songs and dances on this
occasion. These dances can be seen in Khumbu,
Helambu and other northern regions of Nepal and also
at Bouddhanath in Kathmandu.
Maha Shivaratri (Feb): Shivaratri or the night of
Lord Shiva is observed in February- March. It is
celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A great religious
fair takes place in the Pasupatinath Temple and
thousands of people from all over Nepal and India
flock the Temple to worship Lord Shiva.
Ghodejatra (March-April): Known as the Festival Of
Horses, it is one of the most exciting festivals of
Kathmandu. Horse race and other sports take place at
Tundikhel on this day. It other parts of the city,
various deities are