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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nepalese Festivals

 



Nepal is not only a land of mountains but also a country full of colorful festivals. It celebrates over 50 festivals in a year. The most important festival for Nepalese Hindus Dashain comes once in a year. Similarly Tihar is also another major festival and celebrated after Dashain.
Besides, Buddha Jayanti (the celebration of the birth of Buddha); Maha Shivaratri (a festival of Lord Shiva, during Maha Shivaratri festivities, some people consume excessive drinks and smoke charas), ShreePanchami; NagPanchami; Teej; Maghe Sankrati, JanaiPurnima; Krishnaastami; Chaite Dashain; Kuse Aunsi; Guru Purnima; Mother's day; Father's day; Indra jatra; Ghode jatra; Buddha Jayanti, Holi etc. are major  festivals of the country.
A short description of some festivals:
          
Dashain:
Dashain is the greatest festival of Nepal. It is also known as Bijaya Dashami. Nepalese celebrate this festival for quite an extended period of time during the month of late September & early October. The  Dashain, is essentially celebrated for the ‘Victory over Evil’ and Nepalis worship the goddess Durga . Thousands of animals are scarified for the ritual holy bathing drenching the goddess in blood for days.
Tihar:
Tihar is the second biggest festival of Nepal. It is the festival of lights (also known as ‘Dipawali’), celebrated between October/November and goes around for five days, people worship Laxmi – the Goddess of Wealth during this festival. Every household is cleaned and decorated with a belief that Goddess Laxmi will enter the house, thus bringing more prosperity and wealth. People lit candles, oil lamps and these days other electric lights. The entire city brightens up with illuminating lights of different colours and it transfers into a vivid city of glowing lights. Fire crackers are also the integral part of Tihar when a numerous amount of crackers are lightened/used. During the five days of this festival’s, crows, dogs and cows are worshipped as well and honored with vermilion, garland and delicious food.
New Year:
It is known as “Navavarsha” in Nepal and usually falls in the second week of April. Nepal has its official calendar that begins from the first day of the first month Baisakh. This very first day is observed as Nepali New Year. People organize picnics, get-togethers and celebrate the day socializing in various ways and this day is also a national holiday.
Lhosar:
This is the New Year for Sherpas in Nepal and falls in February. Buddhist monasteries in Kathmandu especially in Boudhanath and Swayambunath are decorated with eye catching colorful prayer flags and people flock to these stupas/monasteries performing their traditional dances. They welcome their New Year organizing feasts and family gatherings, wearing new clothes and finest jewelries as well as exchanging gifts.

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