Major Festivals in Nepal:-
Dashain is the longest and most auspicious festival of Nepal which falls in Sept-Oct month of the year. It is the biggest festival of the people in Nepal and all the Hindus of the world. This festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. According to Hindu Mythology, the demon Mahisasur has created terror in Devaloka. But, fierce goddess Durga had come to rescue by defeating Mahisasur after a continuous battle of 10 days.
Many Nepalese people from the world gather with their families to celebrate Dashain. From the tenth day of Dashain, the family members receive Tika (rice, red vermillion, and yogurt) and blessing from the elders. Huge swings are set up for the children. Families offer male goats, chickens, eggs, and coconuts to the goddess Durga.
Tihar, a 5-day-long festival is the second most important festival in Nepal after Dashain. It is the festival especially dedicated to strengthening the relationship between brothers and sisters. Also, this festival cherishes their divine relationship of people with animals.
- The first day of Tihar is crow Tihar. Crows and ravens are worshiped by offering dishes they love. Devotee believes that will avoid grief and death in their family.
- The second day of Tihar is Kukur Tihar. According to human mythology, dogs are vahana of Yamraj and guards of hell. People celebrate this day by offering tika, garlands, and delicious foods to the dog and cherish their relationship with humans.
- The third day of Tihar is Gai puja and Laxmi Puja. Cows are worshiped by offering garland, tika, and the best grass. In the evening, people worship Laxmi, goddess of wealth to thank her with all the wealth they have on their family by lightening candles and oil lamps in their windows and doors. From this day onwards, people celebrate Tihar with deusi bhailo with lights and fireworks.
- The fourth day of the Tihar is Gobardhan Puja. On this day, people worship Ox by offering tika, garlands, and foods.
- The last and most important day of Tihar is Vai Tika. On this special day, sisters worship their brothers by applying Tika on their foreheads to bless them with a long life & thank them for their protection. Sisters thank their brothers with lots of delicious sweets and dishes. Also, brothers bless their sisters by applying tika and exchange gifts as the token of love. This day helps to strengthen the relation between brothers and sisters. According to Hindu Mythology, Yamraj, God of death met his sister Yamuna on this day. On that day he announced, anyone who receives Tike from their sister will not die on that day.
Shivaratri is the night of Lord Shiva. On this special day, devotees bathe early in the morning and go to Shiva temples to worship Lord Shiva. The best place to observe this festival is at Pashupatinath Temple where thousands of Sidhus celebrates by remembering Shiva, chanting prayers & smoking weeds, and hashish considering dear to Lord Shiva.
Chhath is the main festival in the Terai region of Nepal that falls seven days after Tihar. Devotees worship the rising and setting sun thanking them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth. Devotees celebrate this festival by prostrating holy march to river ban, fasting, avoiding drinking water, standing long periods on the water taking a holy bath.
Teej is the festival celebrated by the Nepali women wishing the long life of their husbands and a long and smooth relationship between them for the rest of their life. Whereas, unmarried girls celebrate this festival wishing to get a husband like Shiva. This festival is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Pravati in union with Lord Shiva. Women celebrate this festival by dancing, singing, and fasting.
Holi is also known as the Festival of Colors. It is celebrated in the Terai region of Nepal one day and the next day in the rest of the region. On this day, people smear colors and throw water balloons at their families and friends. Holi mainly celebrates the arrival of spring, blossoms of love, play, and laugh & forget and forgive.
Lhosar is a festival mostly celebrated by the ethnic groups of Nepal Sherpas, Tamang & Gurung people who trace their origin from Tibet. It is basically the first day of the New Year. The different ethnic groups celebrate Lhoshar on different dates and with different styles. As part of the festival, peoples see themselves in a traditional dress for days, raise holy flags atop their homes. Monks of different monasteries hold prayer meetings. People exchange greetings and have delicious traditional foods. Also, people organize cultural programs where anyone can go, sing, dance, and enjoy the program respecting their culture and tradition.
Gai Jatra is a festival mainly celebrated by the Newar community of Kathmandu Valley. On this day, families who have lost their loved ones during the year decorate cows and go on the procession. They believe that will help the departed souls to cross the cosmic ocean in their journey to the after-world. Peoples decorate their kids in cow customs and walk on the procession route. Many shows are organized where comedians insult politicians.