Thursday, April 21, 2011

Festivals of Nepal 2011-2012

Festival of Nepal

It is said about Nepal that every other structure is a holy shrine every other day of festival. Well if the number of annual festival. Both religious and national, is any indication, the saying couldn't be more true Festival is an essential part of Nepalese life that garner emend us local participant. Festival also offers visitors valuable opportunity not only for having fun but gaining insight into various aspects of Nepalese culture.

The religious festivals follow the lunar calendar. While national festivals have fixed dates. Wherever or whenever you arrive in Nepal, you can be pretty sure of being at the right time for one for one more special events. Some of the major and interesting festivals are presented below.

(Naya Varsha B.S. 01-01-2068) Nepali New Year (14 April 2011): 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.

Mata Tirtha Aunshi 20 -01-2068 Mother's Day (03 May 2011) Mata Tirtha Aunshi falls in the month of Baishak (April). This festival falls in the time of dark moon’s time; so its called Mata Tirtha Aunshi. Mata means mother and Tirtha means pilgrimage, so in this way it’s called Mata Tirtha Aunshi. This festival is observed in the commemoration and respect of the mother. So its mother’s reading day as well. All Devotees worship their living mother at their home itself and the person whose mother have been passed away, they go to the Mata Tirtha place which is in Kathmandu. A very grand spectacular religions fair takes place at Mata Tirth pilgrimage one this day. Thousands of devotees flock there to worship and to take a holy bath in the pious Mata Tirtha pond in the high reverence of their deceased mothers. After the holy bath and worship they donate some subsidiary items with money to the barman priests staying.

Baisakh Poornima 03-02-2068 B.S. (17 May 2011) Lord Buddha's Birth Anniversary): As Nepal is the 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 kike 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 a vest". A similar kind of chariot festival to Machchhendranath (white) is also held in Kathmandu city in the month of May-Jun.

Dumji: It is celebrated in all the Sherpa settlements in the month of July. The Sherpas of Kathmandu and Helambu region participate in dancing on this day. Guru Purnima festival celebration homage to the teacher, The Guru Purnima day is also known as Guru Byash Purnima. This festival comes on the full moon day in 31 Ashadh 2068 (15 July 2011). This Guru Purnima day is dedicated to teachers and that’s called Guru Purnima. The guru or a teacher guides us in all conditions and gives us inspiration to walk on the right way in our life. So this is very importance of a (guru) a teacher in our life.

Nag Pachmi: Hindu Nag Panchami festival on 04 August 2011(19 Shawan 2068. All hindu devotees, picture of Nag is put on the main door of the home. The snake god and offer milk and prayed on this day.

Janai Purnima 13 August 2011 (28 Sharwan 2068) Janai Purnima is one of the very magnanimous festival of Nepal. This festival falls in the 13 August 2011 (28 Shawan 2068). The Bramans and Chretry community ties in the Nepal change their sacred thread janai on this day from their guru after taking a holy bath or deep in the river. Janai is tied long from around their left neck to the next right armpit ‘s below. They tie the dhago around their right wrist also from the guru.

Gaijatra (Cow festival): 14 August 2011(29 Sharwan 2068) According to the lunar calendar, this festival is second day of Janai Purnima. This festival is grandly in Kathmandu, Bhatapur and Patan cities. The people decorate the cow and small children like joking cartoon and walk through out the city in small group. It is believed that if this festival is celebrated in this way with the help to cow, the deceased persons’ soul who has died during the year, will get chance soon to rest in the haven soon and he will bless us lot of good luck from there. Cow is our respected like our own progenitor mother in the Hindu Religion. After our death there are many horrible places to cross us to reach in the Haven.

Krishana Astami: 21 August 2011 (04 Bhadra 2068): Krishna Astami is eight days of Bhadra dark fortnight in August. A great ceremony takes place in every Load Krisana astami.

Kushe Aushi:29 August 2011 (12 Bhadra 2068) Hindu's celebrating this festival on the end of August 2011. The Hindu Mythology says that there are four things in which Lord Bishnu stays and those are the Saligram stone, Tulsi plant tree, Pipal Tree and the Kush grass. Kushe Aushi day the priest gives everyone the kush grass so as the lord Bishnu stays in all the houses.
Nepalese tradition and culture holds a lot of respect for a father. He is considered the pillar of strength, high opinion and support of a family. The most auspicious day to honor one's father is Gokarna Aunsi . It falls on the dark fortnight in August.

Haritalika Teej: 31 August 2011 (14 Bhadra 2068) 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 and flock to Shiva temples where married ones pray for a happy conjugal life and unmarried ones for a good husband.

Indra jatra: 10 September 2011 (24 Badra 2068) 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 dancers almost every evening.

Ghatasthapana 28 September 2011( 11 Ashoja 2011),
(Fulpati 03 October 2011 (16 Ashoja 2068),
Astami 04 October 2011 (17 Ashoja 2068,
Nawami 05 October 2011 (18 Ashoja 2068)
Bijaya Dashami 06 October 2011 (19 Ashoja 2011
Purnima -full moon 11 October 2011(24 Ashoja 2068)
The Dashain festival is the most important festival of the Nepalese. The entire country is in enthusiastic holiday mood at the time of the festival.

Tihar (Deepawali): 26 October 2011 (09 Kartik 2068) is Laxmi Puja,
27 October 2011(10 Kartik 2068) Goru puja
28 October 2011 (11 Kartik 2068) Vaitika
Bhai Tika 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.

Constitution Day: 09 November 2011 (23 Kartrik 2068). The new Democratic Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal was promulgated on November 9, 1991. Since then, this day is observed as the Constitution Day.

Bala Chaturdashi: 24 November 2011 ( 08 Mungsir 2068) Balachaturdashi is also one of the pious festivals of the Hindus. It falls on the 14thday of dark fortnight of Mungsir (November). The special importance of this festival is to offer obeisance in the commemoration of our deceased ancestors (antecedents). Antecedents are believed to be equal as the God in the Hindu mythology. Mythology explains that; though the God wishes to present us some thing; the antecedents can stop us from obtaining the things. So without appeasing to the antecedents we can’t get any fruitful awards. So that, this is the day of the Balachaturdashi to respect our antecedents. It’s believed that if we scatter the Sadbij on this day in the name of our ancestors their soul will rest nicely in eternal peace in the heaven; then we will be blessed a lot from them to get the happy life. Also it’s believed that if we scatter the Sadbij particles on this day; we will get the virtue of donating as equal to the donation of gold particles.

Vibhaha Panchami: 29 November 2011(13 Mungsir 2068) 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 Janaki Temple in Janakpur.

Prithvi Jayanti: This occasion is celebrated in honor of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the founder of modern Nepal, with a colorful ceremony in front of the Singha Durbar gate in Kathmandu on January 11, 2011 (Poush 27th, 2068).

Basanta Panchami: 28 January 2012 (14 Magha 2068): Basanta Panchami is also one of the very important festivals. It falls in the bright fort night of Magh (January).In this festival Saraswati mother the Goddess of knowledge is worshipped grandly by all specially by the students, teachers and scholars. She is the mother of education and she is believed to be the Guru (teacher) of all kinds of education; and without her worship we can’t get good knowledge. A huge assemblage of devotees takes place in every Saraswati temple of the country to worship the Goddess. This occasion is called the Shree Pnchami as well. Guardians take their small children in the temple and they are given some writing chalks in their hands to start the education by writing on the wall of the temple. Devotees believe that if the children are taken to start their education from the Saraswati temple on this day, they will become a very efficient and educated person of the country in the future.

A grand Saraswati Puja is organized in every school on this day and if there’s no temple in that school the students are taken to take audience of the Goddess some where at out side’s Saraswati temple. After the puja the prasads are distributed there in the school. So this day reminds the students about true value of the education. Sraraswati mother’s picture remains fixed to worship on the wall of every school’s office in Nepal; since she is the Goddess of knowledge; and without her honour the good education can’t be achieved.

Losar: The Sherpas most impressively observe this festival in the month of January - February. They organize folk songs and dances on this occasion. These dances can be seen in Kathmandu, Helambu and other northern regions of Nepal and also at Bouddhanath in Kathmandu.

Maha Shivaratri: 20 February 2012 (08 Phalgun 2068) Shivaratri or the Night of Lord Shiva is observed. It is celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair tales place in the Pashupatinath Temple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and India flock the temple to worship Lord Shiva.

National Democracy Day: This day is officially observed as Rastriya Prajatantra Divas or National Democracy Day as a mark of respect to the people's Revolution of 1950-51. It generally falls on February 19, 2012 (i.e. Phalgun 7, 2068)

Palgu Purnima (Color festival) 08 March 2012( 25 Palgun 2068) In an ancient time there was a demon King named Hiranya Kashyapu who a very cruel atheist demon. Once when he did a very hard penance, then Lord Bhrama became very happy and offered him an invincible blessing; means couldn’t be killing by either any man or animal; and either in the day or in the night; or either on the sea or on the ground. This was the hard boons, which he had asked with Brahma; and Brahma had offered him this blessing. Since getting this blessing the demon became very proud; because he thought that no on this earth now can kill him. That’s why he was overwhelmed by his proud. Now he thought that there’s no any one powerful person than him in this world. So he was bullying and frightening to all.

In the contrary he had a son named Pralahad who was a great theist and used to worship always to lord Vishnu. He used to think that all the people including him and his father are nothing in front of God Vishnu; he used to believe. If God wishes he could do any thing to any one; and he can give any thing to any one. When Pralhad used to recite the name of lord Vishnu; his father the demon King Hiranya Kashyapu used to get very much enraged always. He ordered his son Pralahad not to spell Vishnu’s name since he is no thing; and he ordered to take his father’s name in it’s instead. But Pralahad never did so; that’s why the demon Hiranya Kashyapu was seen very much infuriated. So he decided to kill his son making many wicked ploys.

Ghodejatra: 22 March 2012(09 Chaitra 2068) 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. In other parts of the city, various deities are carried shoulder-high on palanquin (khat) to the accompaniment of traditional music.

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